It seems like every week a new study on climate opinions is published. These are, for the most part, very helpful in planning a climate communication strategies that are both sound and impactful, allowing leaders to craft a message that resonates with the American public. But what happens when we compare all the data from these various sources? We find out that climate denial, or, as our friend Katharine Hayhoe calls it, 'climate dismissiveness,' comes down to politics.
Lead author of the new report, Meta-Analyses of the Determinates and Outcomes of Belief in Climate Change, Matthew Hornsey, a psychology professor at the University of Queensland in Australia shared, “The meta-analysis was a chance to step back and to get that birds-eye view." Hornsey continued, "There are quite a few studies out there on the psychology of skepticism, but the insights are scattered across so many bitsy data sets and so many different disciplines it was hard to see the forest for the trees.”
Including nearly 200 previous polls and studies conducted in 57 countries around the world, Hornsey's research is perhaps the most exhaustive to date, with findings that solidify what many of the smaller studies have indicated all along. The report found, as you might have guessed, climate opinions divide largely along political affiliation, with liberals encouraging greater climate solution and conservative political leanings fostering more significant instances of climate skepticism.
What does this tell us? Not, as one might expect, that climate change is a political issue, rather that politics have skewed what should be a moral discussion. There are may takeaways from this report, but I'd argue that this is easily the most valuable. Our views on climate change are often not influenced by anything actually related to climate change; rather, they are misguided by our political leanings.
And that's where you come in!
The faith leader has remained a salient voice, capable of cutting through political infighting to offer clear, direct and moral solutions to the world's biggest issues. With the presidential race in full swing, the opportunity for faith leaders to guide America to real climate solutions has never been greater.
Chelsea Harvey | The Washington Post
Dozens of surveys and studies have attempted to figure out which factors most heavily influence individuals’ beliefs about climate change and their support for climate-friendly policies. But because there have been so many published recently, scientists argue that it’s been difficult to keep up with the overall trends these studies have been revealing.
Now, some clarity is being offered in the form of a new analysis published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, which reviews all the existing literature on climate change beliefs and pulls out the broad conclusions that can be drawn from all the combined research. The findings highlight two major ideas about the public’s feelings on climate change. First, the analysis suggests that out of all the personal characteristics examined by scientists so far, political affiliations, worldviews and values were the most significant predictors of a person’s beliefs about climate change. Second — and perhaps somewhat disheartening — a person’s belief in climate change doesn’t necessarily translate into big support for climate-friendly action.
“There are quite a few studies out there on the psychology of skepticism, but the insights are scattered across so many bitsy data sets and so many different disciplines it was hard to see the forest for the trees,” said the new paper’s lead author Matthew Hornsey, a psychology professor at the University of Queensland in Australia. “The meta-analysis was a chance to step back and to get that birds-eye view. It’s like a Monet painting – the more you step back, the more it makes sense.”