Most People ‘Unaware’ Climate Change Threatens Global Security

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According to a survey conducted by the John Jay College Center on Terrorism, even people who believe climate change is real remain largely unaware of its connection to global security. The study found that only 38% of all respondents “expressed familiarity with the general idea that climate change could multiply global threats such as political violence or mass migrations, or act as a catalyst for conflict.”

That number was only slightly higher among people who believe climate change is real, and caused or contributed to by human actions: 42%.

Only 15% were aware of the role a deadly drought played in sparking the ongoing Syrian conflict.

Participants in the study were more willing to take action and change their behaviors when they perceived U.S. national security, rather than global security, to be at threat, say the researchers.

According to the authors, the results of this study could have significant implications for “climate change communications.”

The connection between global climate change and security is not new among the national security, intelligence and research communities. However, according to the John Jay College Center on Terrorism at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, public understanding of climate change as a security threat has been under-explored till now.

The study was conducted by Kelly A. Berkell, Research Fellow and principal author,
with Charles B. Strozier, Director of the Center on Terrorism. The original report can be found here.

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