Dr. Ann Gordon
Public awareness of the climate crisis has increased over the past several decades due in part to increased exposure to climate science and the drastic reports released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This report uses the past four years of the Chapman Survey on American Fears to track the groups most fearful of climate change and those who have high levels of environmental concern. The variables tracked across these years include individual income, education level, age, political ideology and party identification, as well as the extent to which one believes the Bible is literal in its content. These demographics are analyzed through a series of linear regression models and correlation tests. Hypotheses tested in this report are derived from the anti-reflexivity hypothesis and the concept of End Times Theology. The Agenda-Setting effect of mainstream partisan media in the United States is also analyzed to provide context to the information sources of various demographics. Republicans and conservatives, as expected, are least likely to fear climate change of any demographic and exacerbate differences in smaller demographics when controlling for party identification. Republicans with higher incomes yield a negative relationship to fear of climate change and overall environmental concern. Democrats as a whole are more likely to fear climate change and have higher environmental concern, though the more specific demographics of income, age, and education hold highly mixed results across the four years of data. Interpretation of the Bible as literally true, word-for-word, increased its strength in determining one’s fear of climate change throughout the Trump presidency. Fear of climate change, while climbing from 2017 to 2019, saw a slide backwards during 2020, setting a bleak stage for the future of climate policy in the United States.
Lopez, Devin, "Fear and Skepticism: A Changing Climate During the Trump Era" (2021). Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters. 487.