How Does the Wording of a Poll Affect Response to Risks from Climate Change?

The impacts of political cues and practical information on climate change decisions  (11 page pdf, Gabrielle Wong-Parodi and Baruch Fischhoff, Environmental Research Letters, Feb. 26, 2015)

Also discussed here: ‘Global Warming’’ or ‘‘Climate Change’’? Whether The Planet Is Warming Depends on Question Wording (10 Page pdf, Jonathon P. Schuldt, Sara H. Konrath & Norbert Schwarz, Public Opinion Quarterly, Feb. 21, 2011)

And here: Surging Seas Risk Finder (Sea level rise analysis, Climate Central)

Today we review research into the effectiveness of calls to the public for action on climate change and how this is influenced by how the threat is labeled: climate change or global warming. Participants were given a situation where they were to buy a house on a coastal city in southeaster USA, Savanna, which is vulnerable to flooding. They were asked to consider the elevation of the site as well as a second independent factor, climate change and given a Risk Finder tool to quantify the risk from flooding. Earlier polls concluded that 7% more people believe in “climate change” than “global warming”, probably because the latter is more easily refuted using local cold spells. More Democrats than Republicans are believers in the sense that they saw a greater risk from climate impacts. Posing a prior question as to their climate belief tended to neutralize the response compared with not posing it beforehand, suggesting that the flooding issue could be addressed on factual grounds without involving political motivation. The authors conclude by suggesting that polls “focus on facts that people need, while avoiding terms that divide them”.

savanna flood zone

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE


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