General Social Survey Data on Public Perception of Climate Change (1630 words)

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Question

Using GSS data, write a detailed research paper--including statistical analysis--on some aspect of public perception of an environmental issue.

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The context for this study can be represented with three recent findings. First, there is the recent finding by Hansen et al. (2016), released as a draft by Hansen to the public last summer, that rises in sea level may occur much faster, sooner, and more significantly than previously thought because prior models failed to take into account critical feedback loops connecting oceans and ice sheets. Then there are the recent Gallup findings indicating that Americans may finally be waking up to the reality of human-caused climate change, though the level yet sits at only 65% (Saad and Jones, 2016) – a record high, but still far off the “97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists [who agree that] climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities” (NASA GCC, 2016). This study is premised on the idea that the gap between what the public and environmental scientists think about climate change must be due in part to some lack of confidence on the part of the public in the expertise of those environmental scientists...

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