Americans care deeply about ‘global warming’ – but not ‘climate change’

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Yale researchers have found that the two terms, often used interchangeably, generate very different responses.

The full report, What’s In A Name? Global Warming vs Climate Change, is available here.

More by this team

Roser-Renouf, Connie and Stenhouse, Neil and Rolfe-Redding, Justin and Maibach, Edward W. and Leiserowitz, Anthony, “Engaging Diverse Audiences with Climate Change: Message Strategies for Global Warming’s Six Americas” (March 17, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Abstract: Global climate change – a threat of potentially unprecedented magnitude – is viewed from a variety of perspectives by Americans, with some dismissing the danger, some entirely unaware of its significance, and still others highly concerned and motivated to take action. Understanding the sources of these diverse perspectives is key to effective audience engagement: Messages that ignore the cultural and political underpinnings of people’s views on climate change are less likely to succeed.

In this chapter, we describe Global Warming’s Six Americas – six unique audience segments that view and respond to the issue in distinct ways. We describe the beliefs and characteristics of each group and discuss methods of effectively communicating with them in light of: (1) the pro- or counter-attitudinal nature of messages on the issue for each group; (2) their willingness to exert the cognitive effort necessary to process information on the issue; (3) their propensity for counter-arguing, motivated reasoning and message distortion; and (4) the communication content they say they most desire and, hence, would be most likely to process and accept.

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