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6. Six Climate Change Audiences

6.1. Many people around the world are Alarmed about climate change.

Our prior research has found that people in the United States can be categorized into six distinct groups  based on their beliefs and attitudes about climate change (Global Warming’s Six Americas). The Alarmed are convinced climate change is happening, human-caused, an urgent threat, and they strongly support climate policies. The Concerned think human-caused climate change is happening, is a serious threat, and support climate policies. However, they tend to believe that climate impacts are still distant in time and space, thus the issue remains a lower priority. The Cautious have not yet made up their minds: Is climate change happening? Is it human-caused? Is it serious? The Disengaged know little to nothing about climate change and rarely if ever hear about it. The Doubtful do not think climate change is happening or they believe it is just a natural cycle. The Dismissive are convinced climate change is not happening, human-caused, or a threat, and they oppose most climate policies.

We previously developed a tool, the Six Americas Super Short Survey (SASSY), that categorizes respondents into this six audiences framework with just 4 questions. Ideally, an in-depth study should be conducted within each country to develop its own tailored segmentation of climate change audiences. However, the SASSY tool can be used as a first-order approximation and a means of cross-national comparison using the same set of questions.

Applying this analysis internationally, we find that in about two-thirds (21 of the 31) of the countries and territories surveyed, the Alarmed are the single largest group. In fact, half or more respondents in nine countries and territories are Alarmed: Costa Rica (64%), Colombia (63%), Mexico (62%), Brazil (59%), the Philippines (55%), Turkey (55%), Vietnam (54%), Taiwan (51%), and India (50%). The Czech Republic has the smallest percentage in the Alarmed group (13%). In the United States, about one-third of respondents are Alarmed (34%).

By contrast, very few respondents in any country or territory are Dismissive. The United States has the largest proportion of Dismissives, but they are only about one-tenth of respondents overall (11%).