Italians less sensitive to climate change but scientific data become increasingly relevant


The new data coming from the Science in Society Monitor by Observa about public perception on climate changes, on the occasion of the Copenhagen International Conference.

Italians’ sensitivity towards climate has decreased: over the past two years perception that the Earth climate is becoming warmer has decreased significantly.

In comparison to 2007, the percentage of citizens persuaded that climate is actually changing has decreased from 90% to 71,7%.

Among those, however, the relevance of data and scientific studies increases: in 2007 for two out of three perception on global warming was based on personal experience. Today the data provided by scientists are decisive for 38% – a figure almost doubled compared to 18.7% in 2007. The significance attributed to scientific data is particularly pronounced among graduates, while among the less educated prevails an opinion built upon one’s own daily perception. The weights of scientific debate comes out, albeit in a different way, even among the uncertain (9,1%): more than half remains silent believing scientists are in disagreement among themselves.

Remains rather weak the influence of environmental groups: only 13% (a fixed rate) attribute those groups a significant role in their perception on climate change. A judgment that becomes markedly negative among the ‘sceptics’: almost one in two believes that “the environmentalists exaggerate always”.

However, the attention towards the issue keeps high: 63% consider themselves to be informed on climate change.

Download the complete results.

The Science in Society Monitor is since 2002 the first permanent monitor of Italian public opinion and attitudes towards science and technology issues. The Monitor is an initiative by Observa – Science in Society, supported by Compagnia di San Paolo.

CATI survey conducted on a sample of 1020 subjects, stratified by gender, age and geographical area of residence, representative of the Italian population aged 15 and over.

Observa – Science in Society is a non-profit independent research centre promoting the study and the discussion of the interaction between science, technology and society, stimulating dialogue among researchers, policy makers and citizens.