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South Coast Researcher Plays Important Role In Analyzing Opinions About Climate Change

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Photo by Yale Program on Climate Change Communication
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This map, from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, shows the percentage of people per county who believe that global warming is caused mostly by humans

A South Coast professor is playing an important role in analyzing opinions about climate change across the nation.

Researchers say about 70% of Americans think global warming is happening. While that’s encouraging to scientists, it doesn’t paint the full picture. That’s why Matto Mildenberger, an assistant professor of political science at UC Santa Barbara, became one of the lead researchers in creating a map that details climate beliefs at every level – including the hyper-local.

“What matters is what Americans in a particular town or county or congressional district think. Because that’s going to shape the representatives they elect and it’s going to shape the type of voting behavior and type of policies,” he said.

Mildenberger says he was surprised to find a strong support for a number of climate change policies in areas that lean politically conservative.

The detailed model called the Yale Climate Opinion Map is available to the public online: http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/visualizations-data/ycom-us-2016/.