Feeds

Republicans believe in 'climate change' but not 'global warming'

Democrats believe in it no matter what it's called

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

The likelihood of an average American agreeing that world temperatures are rising is strongly affected by the name used for the phenomenon. Americans believe strongly in "climate change", but acceptance that "global warming" is taking place is much less common.

In a recent study carried out by psychologists in Michigan, 2,267 US adults were asked the following question, half of them hearing "climate change" and half "global warming":

You may have heard about the idea that the world's temperature may have been going up [changing] over the past 100 years, a phenomenon sometimes called 'global warming'/'climate change'. What is your personal opinion regarding whether or not this has been happening?

Some 74 per cent of those who heard "climate change" agreed that temperatures have indeed risen over the past century: only 68 per cent agreed if they heard "global warming".

"Wording matters," says Jonathon Schuldt, lead trick-cyclist on the study. "Given these different associations and the partisan nature of this issue, climate change believers and skeptics might be expected to vary in their use of these terms."

Schuldt and his colleagues also examined the connection between the two labels and US politics as part of their study. They report that the difference in belief between "climate change" and "global warming" is massive among Republicans, with just 44 per cent of those who identify themselves as such believing in global warming: but 60 per cent say that climate change is real.

By contrast, Democrats don't care what it's called, they believe in it - 86.9 per cent of them believe in "global warming" and 86.4 per cent in "climate change".

"It could be that Democrats' beliefs about global climate change might be more crystallized, and as a result, more protected from subtle manipulations," comments Schuldt's fellow trick-cyclist Sara Konrath.

The psychologists say that liberal think-tanks much prefer the term "climate change" - calculated as it is to subtly manipulate their opponents into agreeing with them. Conservative organisations prefer the term "global warming".

The study is published in the journal Public Opinion Quarterly, and can be read for free in pdf here. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.