Friday, February 8, 2008

A survey of climate change opinion in the US, from a new academic center

George Mason University has launched a “Center of Excellence in Climate Change Communication Research,” a worthwhile and productive idea. The head of the Center is Edward Maibach, an experienced hand at public health communications.

As one of their first efforts, they’ve teamed up with the firm Porter Novelli to conduct a poll of American opinion about climate change. The Center’s home page says that they approached a nationally representative sample of approximately 12,000 adults and approximately 1,000 of their children. They wanted to know how much danger or threat people associate with global warming, and to what degree do people believe that they personally, and we collectively, can take steps to effectively reduce future warming. They also asked about 14 actions and whether people are currently performing those behaviors.

The results have some brights and dims about what Americans actually believe. The study found a majority of Americans view climate change as a serious threat. But roughly a third of American adults were still undecided as to the dangers posed by global warming and our ability to combat it. There's plenty of interesting data in this report, and it's well worth a detailed read.

Photo of rocks from the website of the Center of Excellence in Climate Change Communication Research

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