Hexbyte Glen Cove People prefer 'natural' strategies to reduce atmospheric carbon thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove People prefer ‘natural’ strategies to reduce atmospheric carbon

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

Soil carbon storage, carbon capture and storage, biochar—mention these terms to most people, and a blank stare might be the response.

But frame these change mitigation strategies as being clean and green approaches to reversing the dangerous warming of our planet, and people might be more inclined to at least listen—and even to back these efforts.

A cross-disciplinary collaboration led by Jonathon Schuldt, associate professor of communication at Cornell University, found that a majority of the U.S. public is supportive of soil as a climate change mitigation strategy, particularly when that and similar approaches are seen as “natural” strategies.

“To me, that psychology part—that’s really interesting,” Schuldt said. “What would lead people, especially if they’re unfamiliar with these different strategies, to support one more than the other? Our study and others suggest that a big part of it is whether people see it as natural.”

The group’s paper, “Perceptions of Naturalness Predict U.S. Public Support for Soil Carbon Storage as a Climate Solution,” published May 26 in the journal Climatic Change. Co-authors include Johannes Lehmann, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science (SIPS), Soil and Crop Sciences Section (CALS); Dominic Woolf, senior research associate in SIPS; Shannan Sweet, postdoctoral associate in the Lehmann Lab; and Deborah Bossio of the Nature Conservancy.

Schuldt’s team analyzed results from a survey of 1,222 U.S. adults who reported believing in climate change at least “somewhat,” to estimate for soil carbon storage and how it compares to other leading carbon dioxide removal strategies.

Mitigation strategies—solar and , electric vehicles and sustainable land use and biodiversity, to name a few—are already capturing much attention as the world grapples with rising temperatures, melting ice caps and increasingly violent weather events.

Survey data came from an online poll conducted Sept. 19 to Oct. 4, 2019, by NORC at the University of Chicago, a leading survey research firm. The team solicited respondents’ perceptions of naturalness and policy support for five CO2 removal strategies: afforestation and reforestation; bioenergy plus and storage; direct air capture; soil carbon storage; and soil carbon storage with biochar. Each respondent viewed a randomized group of three options and was asked to estimate the likelihood that they’d support that strategy.

They were also asked to rate their level of agreement with each of five statements related to humans’ tampering with nature.

In the final analysis, perceived naturalness was a strong indicator of support for soil carbon storage as a climate change mitigation strategy. Of the five CO2 removal strategies, support was highest (73%) for afforestation and reforestation; carbon storage ranked second, supported by 62% of those polled.

And in this politically divided time, Schuldt said, support for crossed the aisle. A total of 72% who identified as Democrats supported the ; among Republicans, 52% were in support.

“We expected, and found, that Democrats support all kinds of climate strategies more than Republicans do,” Schuldt said. “But the error I think we sometimes make is that we categorize all Democrats as being for it, and all Republicans as being against it. That’s not true.”

Ultimately, Schuldt said, the goal is to allow policymakers to present the public with palatable options for addressing climate change.

“There is a whole range of solutions out there,” he said. “Then the question politically becomes, where do you start? Which one has the most buy-in? I think our data help speak to that.”

More information:
Shannan K. Sweet et al, Perceptions of naturalness predict US public support for Soil Carbon Storage as a climate solution, Climatic Change (2021). DOI: 10.1007/s10584-021-03121-0

People prefer ‘natural’ strategies to reduce atmospheric carbon (2021, May 26)
retrieved 27 May 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-05-people-natural-strategies-atmospheric-carbon.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove 'I want to ride my bicycle!' People set to change mobility choices post-lockdown thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove ‘I want to ride my bicycle!’ People set to change mobility choices post-lockdown

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

New research suggests a significant proportion of Trinity’s staff and student population that formerly relied on public transport will now choose to walk or cycle to campus when it fully re-opens after lockdown.

Among the reasons provided for such a shift were that options in Dublin’s center were inadequate even when operating at capacity pre-COVID, and that public health guidelines are not enforced on public , raising safety concerns.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 16% of those surveyed walked and 10.4% cycled to Trinity. Once the re-opens fully, 27.3% intend to walk and 27.8% intend to cycle.

The research, which synthesized over 2,500 responses from staff and students surveyed in June and July 2020, did however also find that many people still harbor all-too familiar fears around how safe cycling and walking in Dublin is. Some of those people indicated they too would be likely to switch to walking or cycling to Trinity if there were safer options.

“Our research shows how travel to our city center campus may change as restrictions ease. One of the key findings is that as travel returns to the campus that it is likely to be done by more active modes with some reluctance to use public transport options,” said Professor Brian Caulfield, from Trinity’s School of Engineering.

“Trinity’s campus is one of the most sustainable in the world when it comes to mobility with less than 1% of staff driving to the campus each day. This research demonstrates the appetite of staff and students to embrace active modes of transport when returning to the campus and also shows the need for the plans that Dublin City Council is implementing in the city to ensure that social distancing can still take place.

“Given that there will be a significant reduction in public transport capacity for the foreseeable future it is crucial that we continue working together to promote active modes of transport. By enabling remote learning and working we can bridge this gap that the reduction in public transport capacity creates.”

Most people would like to continue working/studying from home at least some of the time

The research, just published in the journal of Case Studies on Transport Policy, also provides an interesting snapshot into the minds of a city center workforce and student body adjusting to life working and studying from home, and considering how the ‘new normal’ may affect their attitudes in the future.

The majority of staff members are keen to continue working from home at least some of the time post-lockdown (29.9% preferring to do so one or two days a week, and 60.4% preferring to do so 3+ days a week).

Although students are less keen to continue studying from home some of the time, the majority would prefer not to be on campus all the time (26.1% would prefer to study from home 3+ days a week, and 43.2% one or two days a week).

“This research emerges from a collaboration between researchers in all three Faculties within Trinity College Dublin, Healthy Trinity, and Dublin City Council,” added Sarah Bowman, Director of Strategic Engagement & Impact Assessment, and a co-author of the paper. “It’s a model of cross-sector, transdisciplinary research that seeks to provide data and analyses that encourage evidence-informed decision making.”

More information:
Brian Caulfield et al. Re-open our City and Campus post-Covid: A case study of Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin, Case Studies on Transport Policy (2021). DOI: 10.1016/j.cstp.2021.02.016

‘I want to ride my bicycle!’ People set to change mobility choices post-lockdown (2021, March 5)
retrieved 8 March 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-03-bicycle-p

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