Author

Amy C. Rohman

Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Departmental Honors

Department

Wildland Resources

First Advisor

Robert Davies

Second Advisor

Zhao Ma

Abstract

Climate change is a polarizing issue in which there are significant differences in perception between the scientific community and the general public. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has formally acknowledged an increasing body of evidence that supports primarily human-caused climate change. No scientific organization has dissented, and over thirty national academies of the sciences have issued joint declarations confirming the evidence of anthropogenic climate change. Therefore, polarization is not caused by a lack of available scientific information. This study surveys Utah State University faculty to solicit their knowledge of and attitudes towards global climate change. Responses are assessed against the current consensus as articulated in the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report. Statistical analyses are performed to examine any relationships between perceptions and variables such as information sources, personal issue importance, gender, college, political identity, and religious affiliation. Respondents whose perceptions differ significantly from the scientific community are analyzed and found to mirror national trends. This project will provide Utah State University with a faculty profile that can be used to enhance the quality of education students receive on the topic of global climate change.

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