Thursday, May 21, 2009

The "Six Americas:" How Americans View Climate Change

The Yale Project on Climate Change has just published a fascinating look at six distinct American groups and how each looks at climate change.

"Global Warming's Six Americas 2009: An Audience Segmentation Analysis" identifies Americans' attitudes and beliefs about climate change. The survey, which underpinned the analysis, took account of Americans' attitudes, risk perceptions, values, policy preferences, behaviors, and motivations. The study identified "very different levels of engagement with the issue."

The six groups are:

  • "Alarmed" (18 percent): Convinced about the seriousness and reality of climate change; are already taking consumer-based, political, and individual action.
  • "Concerned" (33 percent): Certain that global warming is a serious and real problem; however, not personally engaged in doing anything yet.
  • "Cautious" (19 percent)
  • "Disengaged (12 percent)
  • "Doubtful" (11 percent)
  • "Dismissive" (7 percent): Very sure climate change is not happening; actively opposed to national efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

According to the study, "This research provides essential knowledge that can be leveraged by climate educators and communicators throughout American society...This research provides a solid facilitate the changes required to achieve a transition to a low-carbon future."

Perhaps. But somehow it always seems that the ideas of the good and the great -- reflected in reports just like this one -- get lost somewhere between Kanarado, Kansas and Burlington, Colorado. Oh well, carry on you six Americas...and please wear name tags so everyone will know which group you are in.

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