Understanding Climate Change Skepticism in the Pacific Northwest University of Idaho Seed Grant uri icon



  • Despite overwhelming consensus among climate scientists (Cook et al 2016), approximately 16% of the American population remains skeptical about the veracity of human influenced (anthropogenic) climate change (Leiserowitz et al 2013). Previous research examines the demographic information that correlates with climate change skepticism (McCright and Dunlop 2011) but does not thoroughly investigate how and why people come to this conclusion. With this SEED Grant I will collect interview data and conduct content analysis on online discussion forums to understand how those who are skeptical of climate change rationalize and develop their skepticism despite scientific consensus. Interview data will consist of 40 semi-structured interviews with people who self-identify as climate change skeptics and live in the Pacific Northwest. Content Analysis will be done on documents found on online discussion forums, websites, and emails written by individuals who define themselves as climate change skeptics or deniers and reside in the Pacific Northwest.