University Faculty Perceptions of Climate Change in U.S.

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.32473/ufjur.24.130744

Keywords:

climate attitudes, academia, higher education faculty, climate risk perceptions

Abstract

The devastating consequences of climate change are worsening in all regions of the world, impacting all aspects of human and non-human life. In their 2021 report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that humans are responsible for climate change. University faculty have the opportunity to teach young people, who must understand the impacts of climate change. Because college faculty are extensively educated, we assume they agree with the scientific research on climate change, highlighting its detrimental effects. However, we cannot make this inference without empirical data supporting our claim. Thus, we designed a survey to better understand how university faculty across the U.S. perceive climate change, its causes and effects. We suspect that academic discipline and demographic characteristics will be associated with perceptions of climate change impacts. We organized the United States into eight geographic regions, based on climate zones, and then randomly selected colleges to participate in the study. The results of this study indicate that characteristics including demographics, academic discipline, having a terminal degree, and working in climate change-related fields are not significantly correlated with climate change perceptions. Nonetheless, these results will be crucial in developing future studies to target faculty who are less likely to participate in climate change related research, to establish an accurate estimate of national faculty perceptions.

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Published

2022-12-01

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Section

Social & Behavioral Sciences, Business, Education