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Politics and Public Opinion on Climate Change

February 06, 2012; 3:24 PM

Public opinion about climate change has been changing fairly significantly over the past decade. Back in 2007, a Gallup Poll revealed that 41% of respondents worried "a great deal" about climate change. By 2010, that number dropped to 28%.

A new study from Drexel University that was published in the journal Climatic Change concludes that the main driving factor (no surprise) that influences public opinion on climate change is the political mobilizing efforts of advocacy groups and elites.

The five factors that were examined were extreme weather events, public access to accurate scientific information, media coverage, elite cues and movement/countermovement advocacy, according to the media release.

A key study point from the release........

The study revealed that, while media coverage exerts an important influence, this coverage is itself largely a function of elite cues and economic factors.

"Public opinion regarding climate change is likely to remain divided as long as the political elites send out conflicting messages on this issue," according to Drexel's Robert Brulle. (via

So true!


Speaking of conflicting messages, a nice article in Forbes from Dr. Peter Gleick, who is the CEO of the Pacific Institute.

In this piece, Gleick explains the common use of cherry-picked climate data to argue that the earth is not warming.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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Climate Change
In the Climate Change Blog, you will find links to the latest research, commentary by experts with various points of view on all aspects of global climate change.