Public Attitudes Toward Energy & Climate Change


Public attitudes will guide how, when and whether governments respond to challenges such as climate change and energy security. Public opinion influences national priorities and the acceptability — as well as the acceptance — of new policies and technologies. In the coming decade, public awareness and concerns about energy and climate change could shift dramatically if energy prices continue to rise, if concerns about political stability in the Middle East and in other major energy-producing regions of the world continue and if national policy initiatives and international agreements push countries to take aggressive actions to stem carbon emissions and reduce water and air pollution.

In the United States, many people now recognize climate change as a serious problem that warrants action. This is a major shift in attitude from just a few years ago. In addition, people have become more willing to discuss options such as nuclear power and carbon capture and sequestration. Continued public education is critical and the tracking of public attitudes in the United States and elsewhere is needed to determine what people know and believe about energy and the environment, their preferences about future energy sources and their attitudes about economic and environmental tradeoffs.

News

Ken Oye and the art of sociotechnical problem-solving

Ken Oye and the art of sociotechnical problem-solving

Oye sees invaluable benefits of interdisciplinary collaboration to inform policy on issues from energy and climate to cybersecurity and biotechnology.

May 16, 2016Read more
How much of a difference will the Paris Agreement make?

How much of a difference will the Paris Agreement make?

MIT study projects end-of-century climate under different scenarios.

April 25, 2016Read more
At COP21, finding hope for climate in the "Aerocene"

At COP21, finding hope for climate in the "Aerocene"

Visiting artist Tomás Saraceno and MIT scientists join forces to confront climate crisis at United Nations conference

December 28, 2015Read more
Report: Expected Paris commitments insufficient to stabilize climate by  
century’s end

Report: Expected Paris commitments insufficient to stabilize climate by century’s end

"2015 Energy and Climate Outlook" projects likely impacts of current policies and pledges on global climate, emissions, and energy mix

October 23, 2015Read more

Videos

Paris and Beyond: Climate Change and the Future of Energy

Paris and Beyond: Climate Change and the Future of Energy

How China’s actions coming out of COP21 could help shape the future global energy system

December 16, 2015

How to Think about Energy and Climate

How to Think about Energy and Climate

A MITEI Energy Colloquium with George Shultz

October 3, 2014

1:01:37 Read more
Building the #Knowosphere

Building the #Knowosphere

Andrew Revkin, Dot Earth Blogger, The New York Times

April 23, 2012

01:14:00 Read more

Publications