Is the Public Ready to Conserve Energy?

Posted: May 22, 2009 at 10:13 am, Last Updated: May 28, 2009 at 12:24 pm

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One out of three American adults is concerned enough about global warming to make changes in their political and consumer behavior, a new study by George Mason and Yale Universities shows.

With such a rapidly growing segment of the American public either concerned or alarmed about climate change, this study suggests that the United States may be approaching an important tipping point in public engagement.

The report, “Global Warming’s Six Americas,” divides the American public into six unique segments that engage with the issue of global warming in their own distinct way: Alarmed, Concerned, Cautious, Disengaged, Doubtful and Dismissive.

“Just over half of American adults are either alarmed or concerned about global warming, and these individuals are poised to vote on the issue with their pocketbooks and at the ballot box,” says the report, which was written by Mason professors Edward Maibach and Andrew Light and Yale professor Anthony Leiserowitz.

The report also shows an increase in personal energy conservation across all six groups, a development that may be motivated by a desire to save money as well as to benefit the environment. More than half of Americans also believe that global warming is currently harming or will harm Americans in the next 10 years or so.

The full report can be found here.

Write to mediarel at gazette@gmu.edu