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Institute for Science, Technology and Public Policy

The Bush School of Government and Public Service

Texas A&M University
1112 Allen Building
4350 TAMU College Station, Texas 77843-4350

ISTPP Researchers Examine General and Specific Risk Assessments about Climate Change

In this study, ISTPP Senior Research Fellow, James Stoutenborough, ISTPP Director, Arnold Vedlitz, and Bush School graduate, Xin Xing, analyze the drivers of the public’s risk perceptions related to climate change risk. By focusing on three sub domains – public health, economic development, and the environment, the researchers are able to examine whether the public weighs the risk associated with global climate change differently depending on the context. The influence of the public’s perceptions of these specific sub-domain risks on their general assessment of climate change risk are then analyzed. The results indicate that two of the three sub-domains are predictors of the general assessment of risk. Understanding, and therefore being able to address the public’s specific concerns that drive their overall risk perceptions of a policy domain can be a critical piece of information for effective policymaking. Yet, public opinion surveys seldom move beyond a question about general risk perception to ask about risk perceptions related to specific sub-domains. This study is based on research conducted by ISTPP under an award from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. You can learn more about this sponsored research project here. James W. Stoutenborough, Arnold Vedlitz, and Xin Xing. 2015. “Are all Risk Perceptions Created Equal? Comparing General Risk Assessments and Specific Risk Assessments Associated with Climate Change.” Human and Ecological Risk Assessment: An International Journal. DOI: 10.1080/10807039.2015.1054924.