From 'Alarmed' to 'Dismissive': The Six Ways Americans View Global Warming

May 19, 2009
Researchers found that 18 percent of Americans believe climate change is a serious threat, while seven percent believe it isn't even happening.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Americans fall into six distinct groups regarding their climate change beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors, according to a new report, "Global Warming’s Six Americas," by researchers at Yale and George Mason universities.

The researchers, who surveyed 2,129 adult Americans in the fall of 2008, found that these “six Americas” include:

• The Alarmed, (18 percent of the population) are most convinced that global warming is happening, caused by humans, and a serious and urgent threat.

• The Concerned (33 percent) believe global warming is a serious problem and support an active national response, but are less personally involved and have taken fewer actions than the Alarmed.

• The Cautious (19 percent) believe global warming is a problem, but are less certain it is happening. They neither view it as a personal threat nor feel a sense of urgency about it.

• The Disengaged (12 percent) do not know much about global warming or whether it is happening and have not thought much about the issue.

• The Doubtful (11 percent) are not sure whether global warming is happening, but believe that, if it is, it is caused by natural environmental changes and is a distant threat.

• The Dismissive (7 percent) are actively engaged in the issue, but believe that global warming is not happening and does not warrant a national response.

“When we talk about ‘the American public’ and its views on , that’s a misnomer,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change and a co-author of the report. “There is no single American voice on this issue.”

However, the researchers found that the groups sometimes actually behave in similar ways, albeit for different reasons, said Leiserowitz. For instance, all six support actions that save them money, with the Dismissive just as likely to have made energy efficiency improvements to their homes as the Alarmed. Likewise, all six groups support rebates for the purchase of solar panels and fuel-efficient cars, including the Dismissive.

“Too many climate change education and awareness campaigns have been like throwing darts in a dark room,” said Leiserowitz. “ is ultimately a human problem. If we want to constructively engage Americans in the solutions, we have to first know our audience.”

The full report can be found at environment.yale.edu/uploads/6Americas2009.pdf

Provided by Yale University (news : web)

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kerry
2.5 / 5 (8) May 19, 2009
Before anyone posts anything else, please click the "full report" link and read thee first couple of pages of the report. It includes an Executive Summary and Overview with some nice charts for easy viewing of the data.

There was an article that was posted earlier on global warming (http://www.physor...75.html) based on studies done at MIT. It was immediately attacked by anti-AGWers.

While everyone is free to express their skepticism and doubt, we should still remember that MIT and in this case, Yale, are of our nation's (and world's) greatest places for higher education. If any of us or our kids got accepted into these two schools, I wouldn't have a single hesitation before sending myself/my kids there. These are institutions who have produced world-changing research, the brightest minds, Nobel prizes, etc. Their research deserves a closer look before being immediately criticized.

Please. Just read the full articles (or abstracts) before criticizing. It's just 5 or 6 pages..
ABCThePaddy
3.7 / 5 (3) May 19, 2009
@Kerry The document linked to in this article is 140 pages long.
deatopmg
2.7 / 5 (11) May 19, 2009
@Kerry

and they (MIT and Yale) receive lots of grant money to write these reports. Fanning the flames of fear nets them even more money.

There is definitely global climate change. It has always changed. Look at the data. That's why the AGWers stopped calling it global warming. Now they can still collect grant money and millions for speaking engagements just by shouting wolf. That wolf is going to bite them in the butt.

From the collected data, it appears that the earth has entered a period of cooling, since the mid 90',s and that will likely continue for another 20 yrs or so based on excellent fit of models to the data.

What ever the climate does it is the right thing for us to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and our massive footprint on earths ecosystems....... after everone gets to eat.
Fazer
3.4 / 5 (10) May 19, 2009
Group 7:
The Realistic (% unknown) who see obvious cycles of change in the Earth's climate and aren't going to waste their time trying to change something that is very likely inevitable. They prefer, instead, to learn more about the Earth and exercise restraint instead of flying off the handle and further destroying the world's economies over the latest doomsday scenario.
phlipper
3.4 / 5 (10) May 20, 2009
Count me in group "7", leaning more to group 6, Fazer. The "Swine/Avian" flu fiasco is just the latest example of inter-governmental hype. Man is surely not going to change the climate, one way or the other. This AGW hogwash is an attempt at wealth redistribution and demonization of the industrialized nations by crazed morons.
GrayMouser
3.4 / 5 (10) May 20, 2009
As with any survey done by any group, the wording of the questions and answers is a major factor factor in what the results of the study are.
One thing I wonder about is the academic qualifications of these climate researchers. I see a MPH (Master's of Public Health) and 3 undefined PhDs without any bios on the authors.
kerry
2.5 / 5 (13) May 20, 2009
@ABCThePaddy

I said to just read the first few pages, which includes an Executive Summary and an Overview part, which has great graphs/data.

@deatopmg

Institutions/professors don't just "get" grant money. They have to compete against each other for these grants. And where do these grants come from? National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Department of Defense, etc. These sources of funding have nothing to gain from awarding grants to universities other than advancing knowledge (which can be used to make better decisions for DOE or DOD). Sure you got some industry support, but what industry would really be funding this research? What industry would really be profiting by funding this research? The tiny alternative energy industry? As if our alternative energy industry had piles of money lying around to give to universities to play with..
lengould100
2.3 / 5 (6) May 20, 2009
I'm with kerry. Re-read his last.
Azpod
3.9 / 5 (7) May 20, 2009
Count me among the Dismissive. Evidence has shown the Earth is in a slight cooling trend & has been since 2003. The whole thing is cyclical, the one thing the Alarmists don't want to believe for some reason. Everything in nature is cyclical. Why would climate change be any different?

Yeah, human industry has an effect on the planet. How could it not? But we're not about to destroy the biosphere or even make much more than a dent in it. I certainly support efforts to improve efficiency. But radical changes the can do severe damage to the health of the global economy are hardly warranted.
Velanarris
3.9 / 5 (7) May 21, 2009
These sources of funding have nothing to gain from awarding grants to universities other than advancing knowledge (which can be used to make better decisions for DOE or DOD).
So 3 government agencies have zero stake in controlling the actions of their citizens through alarmism? Color me surprised. Especially with how loudly you've expounded that Bush and his ilk did so in the past.

Sure you got some industry support, but what industry would really be funding this research? What industry would really be profiting by funding this research? The tiny alternative energy industry? As if our alternative energy industry had piles of money lying around to give to universities to play with..
All the big energy companies have stake in it. A lot of stake. After all, who is the world's largest producer of green technologies in regards to energy? GE and Dow Chemical. Who are the leading members of USCAP? GE and Dow Chemical. Who are two of the largest contractors for the government? GE and Dow Chemical.



Seeing a pattern?



Just an FYI: Most industries benefit by dedicating money to universities for research if they are a for profit company, as the tax break they get for a donation is utterly massive.

And lastly, it looks to me like the descriptions all imply that someone who isn't in category Alarmed or Concerned don't believe the climate is changing whatsoever. At that point, I disagree.
Velanarris
3.9 / 5 (7) May 21, 2009
What I would really like to see is a blind survey of scientists. I'd like to see what they think, seeing as they'd be a more educated "jury" of sorts.
jonnyboy
3 / 5 (4) May 21, 2009
What I would really like to see is a blind survey of scientists. I'd like to see what they think, seeing as they'd be a more educated "jury" of sorts.


I totally agree (like usual) but it would also be interesting to see a survey of blind scientists ;-)
theophys
2.3 / 5 (6) May 22, 2009
Everything in nature is cyclical. Why would climate change be any different?

I would have to disaggree with that. Nothing in nature is cyclical. Everything happensin a linear pattern of causality that can occasionaly result in repetitive actions. Cyclical would suggest both inevitability and noncausality, which are both extremely nonscientific concepts. The environment can be changed when the system is tampered with. At the moment, it doen't look like the system is going to be favorable to us another hundred or so years. Since we do have the ability to change that, it would be in our best interest to get to work.
mikiwud
2.6 / 5 (5) May 23, 2009
At the moment, it doen't look like the system is going to be favorable to us another hundred or so years. Since we do have the ability to change that, it would be in our best interest to get to work.

Why would a warmer climate be detrimental?
Warmer, possibly wetter and more CO2 is more likely to be a benefit to vegitation and therefore to humanity. Warmer spells in the past have all been benificial. Now, a COLD period, that WOULD be a real problem, and one seems to be coming if you follow the numbers rather than propaganda.
But, Fat Al says so, and by definition half are at or below average IQ, so he has a captive audience.
PS, don't play the sea level card. The oceans were always rising since the last ice age. We just, through lack of knowledge, built on the bit of land they were going to occupy anyway. And we still do! Also we build on the slopes of volcanoes and fault lines. If you can see a train coming, don't step out in front of it and moan because you cannot stop it in time.
Roderick
2.3 / 5 (6) May 23, 2009
"Why would a warmer climate be detrimental?
Warmer, possibly wetter and more CO2 is more likely to be a benefit to vegitation and therefore to humanity. Warmer spells in the past have all been benificial. Now, a COLD period, that WOULD be a real problem, and one seems to be coming if you follow the numbers rather than propaganda.
But, Fat Al says so, and by definition half are at or below average IQ, so he has a captive audience."

No, Al, is appealing to the more intelligent.

When I hear right wing extremists talking about propaganda than I know I am in the right. :)

Warmer spells did not benefit all species. Indeed, many went extinct.


Velanarris
3 / 5 (4) May 24, 2009
No, Al, is appealing to the more intelligent.

When I hear right wing extremists talking about propaganda than I know I am in the right. :)

Warmer spells did not benefit all species. Indeed, many went extinct.

Warmer spells are beneficial to our species, and the majority of species on the planet. And Al is appealing to those more concerned with what people think of them, because rolling down the street in a car with a giant sticker that says HYBRID means you're an intelligent forward thinking person...

or that you're a jackass who bought the scam.
theophys
2.7 / 5 (3) May 24, 2009
Why would a warmer climate be detrimental?
Warmer, possibly wetter and more CO2 is more likely to be a benefit to vegitation and therefore to humanity

Because the droughts have been really great for vegitation. The climate is getting warmer, but it isn't really getting that much wetter.
PS, don't play the sea level card.

Nobody would have to care about that one if we could master the art of levies. Or at least the art of getting around to building and repairing levies.
Now, a COLD period, that WOULD be a real problem, and one seems to be coming if you follow the numbers rather than propaganda.
But, Fat Al says so, and by definition half are at or below average IQ, so he has a captive audience.

The numbers all point to a warming trend. Unless you refuse to look at any numbers describing the climate more than ten years ago.
And can we get off the Al Gore thing? He isn't a prominent climate scientist and therefore isn't significant to the issue in any way.
GrayMouser
3 / 5 (2) May 25, 2009
"Why would a warmer climate be detrimental?

Warmer, possibly wetter and more CO2 is more likely to be a benefit to vegitation and therefore to humanity. Warmer spells in the past have all been benificial. Now, a COLD period, that WOULD be a real problem, and one seems to be coming if you follow the numbers rather than propaganda.

But, Fat Al says so, and by definition half are at or below average IQ, so he has a captive audience."
No, Al, is appealing to the more intelligent.

1) Why does the less intelligent appeal to the more intelligent?
2) Why doesn't the more intelligent believe AlGo?

When I hear right wing extremists talking about propaganda than I know I am in the right. :)

Warmer spells did not benefit all species. Indeed, many went extinct.

And new ones took their places. It certainly helped humans. Take a look at when Europe had it's greatest advances. During warm periods.
Velanarris
3 / 5 (4) May 25, 2009
Because the droughts have been really great for vegitation. The climate is getting warmer, but it isn't really getting that much wetter.
Can you state that unequivocally? We are seeing rainfall and even snowfall in the middleeast. Desert ranges are greening and the estimated plant biomass of the planet is far greater than it has been for many decades. Yes, there are some regions facing drought, however, those regions are irrigated by man and were originally deserts as little as 100 years ago. In the northern hemisphere there is a huge increase in arable land and many native species have found a greater range of habitats due to the warming at the border zones of the arctic climate.

PS, don't play the sea level card.




Nobody would have to care about that one if we could master the art of levies. Or at least the art of getting around to building and repairing levies.

I agree here. The whole levy/global warming issue is dead, and I think we all know it. As for the tropical islands that are losing landmass due to sea level rise, well, no one has been able to point one out yet.





The numbers all point to a warming trend. Unless you refuse to look at any numbers describing the climate more than ten years ago.
Theo, you're incorrect. The numbers for the past decade show cooling, and every reputable model and prediction is pointing to a comming cool spell on the order of 30 years.



And can we get off the Al Gore thing? He isn't a prominent climate scientist and therefore isn't significant to the issue in any way.


Well we could talk about Hansen and Mann, but it's kind of a stretch to call either one a scientist after the duplicitous hockey stick thing.

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