Search below for resources covering the intersection of climate engagement, social science and data analytics.
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Climate Change in the American Mind: Beliefs & Attitudes, December 2022
The steady majority of Americans recognize that humans are causing global warming, and nearly half say that they’ve been personally impacted. Americans also tend to believe that global warming is affecting the weather, especially in the cases of extreme heat, droughts, and wildfires. Americans who recognize that global warming is happening outnumber those who deny that it’s happening by a greater than four-to-one margin (70% to 16%). 63% of Americans say they feel a personal sense of responsibility to help reduce global warming. Three in five Americans (60%) recognize that global warming is affecting weather in the United States; when asked about specific types of extreme weather, more than two-thirds agree that global warming is affecting extreme heat (70%), droughts (70%), wildfires (70%), and water shortages (68%). Nearly three in five Americans (58%) recognize that global warming is mostly caused by humans.
Climate Change in the American Mind: Politics & Policy, December 2022
Americans’ climate attitudes are continuing to grow more polarized, but bipartisan majorities support clean energy and conservation efforts. 79% of voters support funding more research into renewable energy sources. 79% of voters support generating renewable energy on public lands. 68% of voters support increasing federal funding to low-income communities and communities of color who are disproportionately harmed by air and water pollution. 66% of voters support transitioning the U.S. economy from fossil fuels to 100% clean energy by 2050. 65% of voters say that developing sources of clean energy should be a “high” or “very high” priority for the president and Congress. 62% of voters support requiring electric utilities to produce 100% of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2035. 55% of voters support a U.S. president declaring global warming a national emergency if Congress does not take further action.
3 reasons local climate activism is more powerful than people realize
When people speak up and work together, they can spur powerful changes. Research and history suggest that local action is more powerful than many people realize. First, much of the policy change that can affect climate change is local rather than national. Second, local wins can become contagious. Third, local action can trigger national policy, spread to other countries and ultimately trigger global agreements. Yet, while 70% of American adults describe climate change as an important concern, only 10% say they volunteered for an activity focused on addressing climate change or contacted an elected official about it in the previous year. Polls show some people see how money from wealthy industries and individuals influences politicians and don’t believe politicians listen to the public, and others are distracted by arguments that can tamp down engagement, such as campaigns that urge people to focus on individual recycling, or ask why the U.S. should do more if other countries aren’t. A description of the book on which these argument are based can be found here: https://aronclimatecrisis.net/
A scoping review of the green parenthood effect on environmental and climate engagement
Parenthood may be a helpful frame to motivate people to take climate action, but it's understudied as a mechanism that may influence climate change-relevant behavior. This resource reviews the existing literature on the role of parenthood as a motivator of environmental engagement (the “green parenthood effect”), focusing particularly on climate change. The literature on the role of parenthood in driving environmental engagement is mixed, due in part to the role of “baseline” individual and group characteristics that lead to different impacts of parenthood on environmental engagement (i.e., people who choose to have kids are already a bit different from those who do not have kids). In addition, there are countervailing impacts of intense time and budget constraints imposed by parenthood. Some studies suggest that parenthood increases pro-environmental engagements, while others find no effects or negative effects. We theorize that potential mediators and moderators need to be taken into account to get a clearer picture of how parenthood influences pro-environmental engagement. We highlight underlying proposed mechanisms that might be activated during the transition to parenthood (i.e., legacy motives, perceived responsibility). For people who are already concerned about climate change, evidence suggests that parenthood could be a strong frame to motivate engagement with climate change, but asking parents, especially those with young children, to take on pro-environmental behaviors that do not have a direct health impact on their own children is unlikely to be an effective strategy.
Measuring, mapping, and anticipating climate gentrification in Florida: Miami and Tampa case studies
Recognize the disruptive potential of climate gentrification. This study looks at the current and potential impact of climate gentrification on low- and middle-income renters in Miami and Tampa, as areas away from the immediate coast become more desirable due to a growing awareness of climate risks. The authors have created a Climate Gentrification Risk Index to help local officials identify areas vulnerable to climate gentrification and plan for long-term land use changes.
How partisanship is making polling Americans more complicated
“Partisan responding” is making it more difficult to interpret public opinion polls in today’s polarized political climate. This is helpful to understand for any advocates using polling in their political work. "Partisan responding” refers to respondents treating polls as a way to express their loyalty to the political party they support, including on questions that aren’t overtly political in nature. Some of the most common evidence for this phenomenon is how partisans tend to give more positive ratings of the country’s economic situation, and even their own financial situations, when their party holds the presidency. Partisan responding is also widespread in polling on energy and environmental issues. Self-identified Republicans, for example, have been much more likely than Democrats to express concern about the country’s energy situation since President Biden took office and much less likely than Democrats to report direct experience with extreme weather events.
Volts podcast: Fran Moore on how to represent social change in climate models
New research is incorporating social and political processes into climate science models. These models usually do not account for political “feedback loops” and only try to predict climate futures based on emissions trajectories and the impacts of policies on them. This interview with a researcher includes a discussion on other forces that are likely to affect climate futures, such as how policies that are (or are not) passed will change public opinion and other forms of political power that will in turn affect policy and have other effects on degrees of global warming. This research is brand new and is trying to make more accurate predictions about how climate policy might affect future climate scenarios.
Climate Opinion Factsheets
This tool provides information about Americans' beliefs, risk perceptions, and policy preferences about climate change. This data is based on the Yale Climate Opinion Maps and exists for all 50 states, 435 congressional districts, and 3,142 counties across the U.S. The tool allows users to customize which survey questions are shown on a Factsheet, such as different beliefs about climate science, risk perceptions, policy support, and behaviors. Users can obtain these public opinion measures at levels even as local as a county or congressional district.
Poll: Who is willing to participate in non-violent civil disobedience for the climate?
A recent survey that asked Americans about their willingness to "support an organization engaging in non-violent civil disobedience against corporate or government activities that make global warming worse" and about their willingness to "personally engage in such non-violent civil disobedience themselves" found:
- Among the Six Americas segments, the Alarmed are the most likely to support an organization engaging in non-violent civil disobedience; half (50%) said they “definitely” (21%) or “probably” (29%) would support such an organization.
- 28% of the Alarmed said they “definitely” (10%) or “probably” (18%) would personally engage in non-violent civil disobedience against corporate or government activities that make global warming worse, if asked to by a person they liked and respected. The ten percent of the Alarmed who are “definitely willing” to personally engage in non-violent civil disobedience represents approximately 8.6 million American adults.
- Millennial and younger adults are more likely to support organizations engaging in non-violent civil disobedience than older generations -- with 35% stating they “definitely would” (14%) or “probably would” (21%) support them -- and also more likely to say they would personally engage in non-violent civil disobedience to protect the climate; 8% said they “definitely would” and 12% said they “probably would,” if asked to by a person they liked and respected.
- People of color are more likely than whites to support organizations engaging in non-violent civil disobedience. About one third (34%) of Black Americans “definitely would” (12%) or “probably would” (22%), and about one third (35%) of Hispanics/Latinos “definitely would” (14%) or “probably would” (21%) support such organizations.
- People of color are also more likely than whites to say they would personally engage in non-violent civil disobedience in defense of the climate; about one in six Hispanics/Latinos (6% “definitely would” and 11% “probably would”) and one in five Black Americans (5% “definitely would” and 17% “probably would”) say they would engage in such actions, if asked to by a person they liked and respected.
Why Intersectional Stories Are Key to Helping the Communities We Serve
Many people communicating for social change are exploring how to tell diverse and inclusive stories that center marginalized communities while building understanding about how inequality persists. Intersectionality is an important tool to help us tell great stories that help us understand systemic issues. Five guiding principles to telling intersectional stories: Show, don’t tell; Provide historical context; Uplift the voices of marginalized people; Tell whole stories; and, Radically reimagine the world.