Friday, March 28, 2008

Global warming: The more you know, the less you care, apparently

Environment News Service: A new public opinion poll has found that the more people know about global warming, the less they care. A telephone survey of 1,093 Americans by two Texas A&M University political scientists and a former colleague indicates that trend, as explained in their recent article in the peer-reviewed journal "Risk Analysis."

"More informed respondents both feel less personally responsible for global warming, and also show less concern for global warming," states the article, titled "Personal Efficacy, the Information Environment, and Attitudes toward Global Warming and Climate Change in the USA."

The study showed that high levels of confidence in scientists among Americans led to a decreased sense of responsibility for global warming. The diminished concern and sense of responsibility flies in the face of awareness campaigns about climate change.

The research was conducted by Paul Kellstedt, a political science associate professor at Texas A&M; Arnold Vedlitz, Bob Bullock Chair in Government and Public Policy at Texas A&M’s George Bush School of Government and Public Service; and Sammy Zahran, formerly of Texas A&M and now an assistant professor of sociology at Colorado State University.

Kellstedt says the findings were unexpected. The focus of the study, he says, was not to measure how informed or how uninformed Americans are about global warming, but to understand why some individuals who are more or less informed about it showed more or less concern. "In that sense, we didn't really have expectations about how aware or unaware people were of global warming," he says….

Sleeping dog photo by Rick Audet, Wikimedia Commons

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