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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Is global warming dangerous?

Experts explore the disconnect between values and behavior on global warming.

Scientists hosted a public briefing this week in Washington D.C., in which they presented scientific findings about Americans’ perceptions of global warming.

At the briefing, they said that the majority of Americans believe that climate change poses a moderate threat, but that it’s more of a problem for the environment and for people living outside of the U.S.


That’s according to research conducted by Anthony Leiserowitz, principal investigator at the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions at Columbia University. Leiserowitz studied how Americans perceive risks associated with climate change. Using a mail–in questionnaire, people were asked to describe their first thought or image that comes to mind with the words, “global warming.” It would be interesting for the reader to share their answer to this question in the space below.

People surveyed also answered questions that gauged the degree of concern they have about global warming. One of the things that Leiserowitz found was that people clustered into what he calls “interpretive communities,” birds of a feather so to speak. These groups include what he called the “alarmists,” who view global warming in apocalyptic terms, and the “naysayers,” who deny that it’s happening or who think that it’s unimportant.

This year’s media coverage of global warming reached a high water mark with the release of the movie, An Inconvenient Truth. But recent surveys rank global warming 12th among 13 environmental problems, right below urban sprawl.

One reason why more people aren’t responding to what the media is reporting is that global warming hasn’t been framed as an issue of personal relevance, asserts Matthew Nisbet, a social scientist at American University. Much of the public, in his view, relies on “cognitive short–cuts” such as partisanship or ideology to decide what’s important to them.

We can do our own informal survey here. What’s YOUR first thought or image that comes to mind, when you think of the words “global warming?”

1 comment:

  1. i really impress with you blog and plz keep writing for this blog. i also start collection of information about causes of global warming in my blog.

    ReplyDelete

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