The American public can be divided into six distinct groups based on their responses to the issue of climate change, according to a new reoprt.
"Global Warming’s Six Americas 2009" asserts that efforts to communicate with and engage the public must begin with the recognition that population segments have "different psychological, cultural, and political reasons for acting–or not acting–to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
The segments range in size from 7% to 33% of the adult population, according to the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, which conducted the survey in the fall of 2008.
According to the report:
- The Alarmed (18%) are fully convinced of the reality and seriousness of climate change and are already taking individual, consumer, and political action to address it.
- The Concerned (33%)–the largest of the six Americas–are also convinced that global warming is happening and a serious problem, but have not yet engaged the issue personally.
- Three other Americas–the Cautious (19%), the Disengaged (12%) and the Doubtful (11%)–represent different stages of understanding and acceptance of the problem, and none are actively involved.
- The Dismissive (7%) are very sure it is not happening and are actively involved as opponents of a national effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The survey questionnaire measured the public’s climate change beliefs, attitudes, risk perceptions, motivations, values, policy preferences, behaviors, and underlying barriers to action. "The Six Americas are distinguishable on all these dimensions, and display very different levels of engagement with the issue," the report states.
The full report is available as a pdf at the link below.