The stated goal of a new poll of Massachusetts residents’ views on climate change was to determine whether the Commonwealth has a “culture of climate protection,” which the authors of the report define as widespread
- recognition of global warming as a problem and a priority for action,
- support for policy efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and
- action to reduce personal greenhouse gas emissions.
Using those three dimensions as a guide, the pollsters grouped respondents into four categories:
The Convinced view climate change as a very serious threat caused at least in part by human activity. This is the only segment of the population that views global warming as a high priority for state government and is most supportive of policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Receptive individuals are much like their Convinced counterparts, just less so. They still accept the reality of climate change and say human activity is at least partially to blame. But they see it as a less serious threat and are less supportive of carbon-cutting policies.
Dubious residents have perhaps the least formed views. They’re uncertain whether climate change is happening and lean toward natural causes or say they don’t know what’s responsible. Not surprisingly, the Dubious are on the fence when it comes to climate policies.
Dismissive individuals flat-out do not believe global warming is happening and do not support policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Here’s the curve ball: they’re still just as likely as the Convinced to take personal actions to reduce energy consumption.
A CULTURE of CLIMATE PROTECTION?
The Convinced and Receptive together make up 59% of the population, a majority. The authors of the report say “the results suggest that the qualities of a climate protection culture are taking hold in Massachusetts to varying degrees.” Not exactly a victory cry, but a statement of cautious optimism.