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U.S. Public Opinion on Climate Change: Can it Mobilize a Policy Response?

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Wednesday, 01 November 2017, 12:30


Wednesday November 1, 2017.  12:30 PM. U.S. Public Opinion on Climate Change: Can it Mobilize a Policy Response?  Patrick Egan, New York University.  Sponsored by Department of Human Ecology and Rutgers Climate Institute.  Flyer pdf here. (249 KB)

Climate change is one of the most difficult and complex policy challenges of our times. Can we expect American public opinion on this issue to have any meaningful impact on mobilizing a policy response from U.S. lawmakers?  In this talk, I review over-time trends in the public's attitudes on climate change and discuss research exploring how ordinary people make sense of this hard-to-understand policy problem.  If past is any prologue, majority opinion is unlikely to spur elected officials anytime soon to undertake the costly solutions necessary to tackle this problem comprehensively at the national level. Nevertheless, there are several avenues by which attitudes might promote less substantial but nevertheless consequential policy action. 

Patrick J. Egan is Associate Professor of Politics and Public Policy at NYU, where he studies and teaches about public opinion, public policy and their relationship in American politics.  He is author of Partisan Priorities: How Issue Ownership Drives and Distorts American Politics, published in 2013 by Cambridge University Press.  His research has appeared in academic journals including Nature, the Journal of Politics and the British Journal of Political Science, and his writing has been published in media outlets such as the New Republic and the New York Times.  He worked as an election analyst for NBC News during the 2016 presidential campaign, and he is also an occasional contributor to The Monkey Cage, a political science blog hosted by the Washington Post. Before entering academia, he served as an Assistant Deputy Mayor of Policy and Planning for the City of Philadelphia. 

Location  Room 131, Blake Hall, 93 Lipman Drive, Cook Campus, New Brunswick