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Institute for Science, Technology and Public Policy

The Bush School of Government and Public Service

Texas A&M University
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ISTPP Research on the Role of Public Discourse in Climate Change Debate Published in Society & Natural Resources

Brian Shreck, ISTPP Fellow, and Arnold Vedlitz, ISTPP Director, have analyzed the role of public discourse in the public’s debate on climate change. They find that higher levels of self-reported knowledge, that is how knowledgeable people believe themselves to be about climate change, lead to stronger beliefs on whether human-caused climate change exists. Those who deny this also tend to have less factual knowledge of the issue. Engagement in more frequent public discourse is only significantly associated with belief in anthropogenic climate change. People also engage in discourse more often the stronger their support or opposition to policies to address climate change. Lastly, while not statistically significant, results show that people who discuss climate change more frequently may be more inclined to cross the traditional party lines on policy preferences.

Their study is based on data from ISTPP’s 2013 National Public Climate Change Survey, and the researchers’ findings have been recently published in Society & Natural Resources.

Brian Shreck and Arnold Vedlitz. 2016. “The Public and Its Climate: Exploring the Relationship Between Public Discourse and Opinion on Global Warming.” Society & Natural Resources. DOI: 10.1080/08941920.2015.1095380