Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

USM Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Elizabeth Turesky, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Sharon Timberlake, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Daniel M. Jenkins, Ph.D.


climate change, survey, decision-making, LOS


Global climate change science and the discoveries it has produced have their genesis in the late 19th century. While the science is all but proven, there are detractors who express doubt or outright denial concerning the facts surrounding climate change and question whether or not climate change is an elaborate hoax. Unfortunately, in this age of highly polarizing and divisive issues, the study of climate change is not spared. One might ask, "what is the reasoning behind the doubt, and furthermore, what causes people to be skeptics if the first place?'' This study intends to identify the determining factors that influence society's acceptance or rejection of the underlying climate science. While numerous studies and surveys show that over 97% of scientists agree that climate change is occurring and that humans are directly responsible, there is a vocal minority that refuses to accept the science. With this in mind, the author has designed a survey consisting of 35 multiple choice, close-ended questions to identify how people are moved to a particular opinion. In addition to discovering the sources behind this decision-making process, this paper will discuss the potential ramifications on leaders and how one's "beliefs" on this topic could lead to either smart public policy or a missed opportunity.