Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"global warming’s six americas 2009" study by the Yale Project on Climate Change and George Mason University's Center for Climate Change Communication

A nationally-representative survey of American adults was conducted covering such topics as: climate change beliefs, attitudes, risk perceptions, motivations, values, policy preferences, behaviours, and underlying barriers to action

The analysis of the responses segmented the US public into six ("The Six Americas").

Each displays display very different levels of engagement with climate change, and the segments vary in size from 7% to 33% of the surveyed population.

The Alarmed (18%) are fully convinced of the reality and seriousness of climate change and are already taking individual, consumer, and political action to address it. The Concerned (33%) – the largest of the six Americas – are also convinced that global warming is happening and a serious problem, but have not yet engaged the issue personally. Three other Americas – the Cautious (19%), the Disengaged (12%) and the Doubtful (11%) – represent different stages of understanding and acceptance
of the problem, and none are actively involved. The final America – the Dismissive (7%) – are very sure it is not happening and are actively involved as opponents of a national effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

My attention has been drawn to the survey (though it was published just over a year ago, and the actual interviews with surveyed respondents took place in Autumn 2008) in the context of the discussions surrounding the BP oil rig/ spill disaster.

Some people are suggesting that, as a result of the financial crisis, climate change has become very much LESS of a concern in the USA (at least in comparison to financial and employment issues). Others suggest that, as a result of the disaster, climate change and related environmental issues have become MORE prominent in public concern.

Time will tell - though, as always, surveys take a narrow slice to examine and in real life no doubt everything relating to the disaster will get mixed up with the public reaction to President Obama's handling of the issue politically, to whether whatever amount is finally given by BP is considered adequate, and the long-term consequences for the Gulf of Mexico and wider. Sphere: Related Content

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