Sarah Cohen

The Political Implications of Misunderstandings of the Mechanism of Climate Change

Climate change, whether one believes in it or not, is an undeniably large presence in discourses about environmentalism, policy, and morality. Though the consensus among scientists about the reality and anthropogenic origin of global warming is solid, the general public is much less convinced. I am therefore interested in examining how an individuals understanding of the mechanism of the greenhouse effect is related to their political attitudes about climate change. To study this association, I will be running a survey project in “America’s Finest City,” San Diego. Once the data is collected, I will analyze the data to see if people with more complete understandings of the mechanism of climate change also have more “green” political beliefs. Examining this link will help illuminate the contested relationship between knowledge and attitudes; this, in turn, will help us understand how to create effective global warming mitigation policy.

Message to Sponsor

I am thrilled to have this opportunity to conduct full-time research over the summer. Apart from being the basis for my senior thesis in environmental sciences, SURF will allow me to fully immerse myself in the process of researching. This period of time, without the distractions of exams and homework, will certainly help me improve the quality of the work I am doing. I am excited to study the political implications of global warming. Thanks to SURF, Michael Ranney (my mentor), and the rest of the Reasoning Research Group!
  • Major: Environmental Sciences
  • Mentor: Michael Ranney, Education