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In a Democracy, the Climate Problem is Whatever the Public Believes it is

Friday, August 2, 1996
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What does the American public know about the subject of climate change? The answer may be more important than scientific results in determining our country's future climate policy. This talk reports the results of detailed studies of what ordinary Americans know and believe about climate change: what it is, what causes it, what it will be like, and what can be done about it. The talk summarizes what people get right....and where they are mixed up! Thomas Jefferson argued that an informed public is the only sure way to assure good government decisions. In the second part of the talk, Dr. Morgan explores what can be done to improve public understanding. He describes and illustrates the process by which he and his colleagues at Carnegie Mellon have worked to improve public knowledge of climate change.