Photo: Dale Robbins

Anthony Leiserowitz

Scientist and Climate Change Communication Expert

Anthony Leiserowitz is Director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and a Research Scientist at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. A widely-recognized expert on public opinion of climate change, Leiserowitz investigates the psychological, cultural, political, and geographic factors that shape human perception, decision-making, and behaviors regarding our environment. Leiserowitz conducted the first empirical assessment of worldwide public attitudes toward global sustainability, and has also researched these values in the United States, individual states and municipalities, and with the Inupiaq Eskimo of Northwest Alaska.

One groundbreaking aspect of his work is the notion of “Six Americas,” a concept described in a 2009 Yale survey in which Leiserowitz’s research team found that Americans can be divided into six distinct groups according to their perspectives on climate change. Leiserowitz’s research asserts that in order to effectively combat global warming, climate scientists must learn to communicate differently with Americans in each group, including the “Disengaged” (who don’t believe climate change is a threat) and the “Cautious” (who believe the environment is in danger, but don’t feel they will be personally impacted by global warming).

As of January 2013, Leiserowitz is conducting a national survey in India on climate change, energy and sustainability. He is also overseeing numerous national studies in the U.S., as well as a project examining the reactions of Alaskans to the impact of climate change that has already taken effect there.

Leiserowitz has served as a consultant to the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, the United Nations Development Program, the Gallup World Poll, the Global Roundtable on Climate Change at the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and the World Economic Forum.