Over the years, scholars at the Bush School’s Institute for Science, Technology, and Public Policy (ISTPP) have seen their research results affect key public policy issues. The Institute has become known for providing decision makers with balanced and credible information on complex and sometimes controversial issues.
Two articles by ISTPP director, Dr. Arnold Vedlitz, and his co-authors, Dr. James Stoutenborough, Dr. Sammy Zahran, and Dr. Paul Kellstedt, all of whom are Institute research fellows, were recently cited in a report produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an international group that evaluates the science of climate change. Both articles (citations given below) were based on representative, national surveys of US adults.
With climate change so provocative and opposing views offered almost daily, how the public evaluates the information provided is an important factor in the debate. The first article cited in the IPCC report, by Kellstedt, Zahran and Vedlitz, concludes that thinking one is well informed on climate change, having confidence in scientists, and believing one’s own actions can affect change are key factors in how an individual feels about the issue. The second article, by Stoutenborough and Vedlitz, examined the Knowledge Deficit Model (KDM), which posits that the detailed knowledge scientists have about an issue versus that of the general public means that the public will not view the issue in the same way as scientists. They find that individuals who have a more scientific understanding of climate change express more concern about this issue.
The IPCC was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program to provide policymakers with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation. IPCC reports are written by leading scientists, who review and evaluate the research to be included. Inclusion in these reports is an indication of the high quality of the work done by Bush School and Institute scholars.
Kellstedt, Paul M., Sammy Zahran, and Arnold Vedlitz. 2008. “Personal efficacy, the information environment, and attitudes toward global warming and climate change in the United States.” Risk Analysis 28 (1): 113-26. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1539-6924.2008.01010.x.
Stoutenborough, James W., and Arnold Vedlitz. 2014. “The effect of perceived and assessed knowledge of climate change on public policy concerns: An empirical comparison.” Environmental Science & Policy 37 (March): 23-33. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2013.08.002.