Research Roundup for June, 2018

Highlights from recent research on the science of climate change communication:

  • Some 62 percent of Americans believe the government is doing too little to protect the environment, the highest level in 12 years (Gallup, 2018).

  • Some 55 percent of likely voters believe U.S. environmental policy is on the wrong track. A similar proportion support a plan put forward by retired Republican leaders to tax carbon pollution and return the dividends to taxpayers (Americans for Carbon Dividends, 2018).

  • Three in five Americans believe that monitoring the Earth's climate should be a top priority for NASA. Just one in five believe that sending astronauts to Mars should be a top priority for the space agency (Pew Research, 2018).

  • Having been informed of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's alleged indiscretions, seven in 10 likely voters say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supports Pruitt. Nearly six in 10 likely voters believe President Trump should fire Pruitt (NRDC Action Fund, 2018).

  • Having been informed of Pruitt's alleged indiscretions, more than five in 10 registered voters say that he should be removed from office. Pruitt is a staunch Republican. By a two to one margin, Americans trust Democrats more than Republicans to handle environmental issues (Politico & Morning Consult, 2018).

  • In May 2018, U.S. news coverage of climate change largely focused on President Trump and his policies, often at the expense of other important stories (Boykoff, Katzung, & Nacu-Schmidt, 2018).

This word cloud shows the frequency of words used in U.S. TV news coverage of climate change in May 2018.

This word cloud shows the frequency of words used in U.S. TV news coverage of climate change in May 2018.

  • Seven in 10 Americans age 18 to 34 are worried about climate change, compared with six in 10 Americans age 35 and older (Gallup, 2018).

  • U.S. Latinos are more alarmed by climate change and less dismissive of the issue than non-Latinos. This is particularly true of Latinos whose primary language is Spanish. Alarmed Latinos are less likely than alarmed non-Latinos to say they have been asked to contact their elected official about climate change (Leiserowitz, Rosenthal, & Cutler, 2018).

  • Advocates may push for clean energy policies on the basis that they fight climate change, cut air pollution or help achieve energy independence. Each argument is equally persuasive to Democrats. Republicans are less persuaded by arguments about climate change (Feldman & Hart, 2018).

  • Eight in 10 Maine residents believe climate change will impact their state at some point. A similar proportion support political action to reduce climate change (Natural Resources Council of Maine, 2018).


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