Climate Change: The State Of The Debate

Research Organisation
Centre on International Cooperation NYU,River Path Associates

Report Date
Oct. 1, 2007

Document summary

This discussion paper is intended to catalyse a deeper discussion about why climate change has become a big political issue; what's driving awareness of it among diverse publics; whether climate change will stay high on the agenda; and how future perceptions of the issue might evolve.The paper begins with a brief survey of the history of public perceptions of climate change since 1900, demonstrating the importance of human factors - behaviours, identity, values, and aspirations; and how these factors have contributed to the debate. Section two of this paper looks at a sample of recent polling data in an attempt to discover whether perceptions of climate change really did reach a 'tipping point' during 2006, as many media commentators believe.It argues that it is now time to understand, study, and track the state of the climate change debate, which will ultimately drive policy responses from governments, and therefore the investment environment.