A special report on the politics of global warming. Based on a nationally representative survey conducted in spring 2014, we analyze how Democrats, Republicans and Independents think about global warming, what policies they support or oppose, and the different types of political activism they are willing to engage in.Attitudes & Beliefs Citizen Behavior Consumer Behavior Policy Support Politics / Elections Risk Perceptions
We are pleased to announce our newly published article: "The genesis of climate change activism: from key beliefs to political action" in the journal Climatic Change.
A nationally representative survey finds that the terms “global warming” and “climate change” often mean different things to Americans—and activate different sets of beliefs, feelings, and behaviors, as well as different degrees of urgency about the need to respond.Attitudes & Beliefs Citizen Behavior Emotion / Affect / Imagery Knowledge / Climate Literacy Policy Support Risk Perceptions
* Three in ten (29%) have joined or would join a campaign to convince elected officials to take action to reduce global warming.
* Nearly four in ten (36%) have joined or would join a campaign to convince elected officials to pass laws increasing energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy as a way to reduce America's dependence on fossil fuels.
* About half of Americans (53%) say they would sign a petition about global warming if asked by a person they "like and respect."
* About four in ten say that, if asked, they would sign a pledge to vote only for political candidates that share their views on global warming (39%).
* One in four Americans would support an organization engaging in non-violent civil disobedience against corporate or government activities that make global warming worse (24%) and one in six (17%) say they would personally engage in such actiivities.Citizen Behavior Energy Use / Conservation Policy Support
- Compared to the record-setting extreme weather disaster years of 2011 and 2012, the year 2013 in the United States was relatively calm, with no land-falling hurricanes, fewer tornadoes, and drought relief in the Great Plains. In turn, fewer Americans say they experienced an extreme weather event last year. People in the Northeast, Midwest, and South, however, were more likely to report experiencing extreme cold or a snowstorm in 2013 than they did in 2012.
- Over half of Americans (56%) say “global warming is affecting weather in the United States.”
- A large majority of Americans say their state and local government should make it a priority to protect public water supplies (78%), transportation/roads/bridges (73%), people’s health (72%), the electricity system (71%), agriculture (70%), and public sewer systems (69%) from extreme weather over the next 10 years.
Attitudes & Beliefs Citizen Behavior Knowledge / Climate Literacy Risk Perceptions
On Saturday, January 11th, 2013, YPCCC Director Anthony Leiserowitz spent the morning discussing, among other things, the parallels between climate change and the smoking debate on MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry Show. Watch the conversation below.
Attitudes & Beliefs Citizen Behavior Health Knowledge / Climate Literacy Media Outreach Projects Politics / Elections Risk Communication Risk Perceptions
- Most people in Columbus, Ohio, (70%) believe global warming is happening, while only 18% believe it is not.
- About half (49%) believe that if global warming is happening, it is caused mostly by human activities.
- Of those who believe global warming is happening, two in three believe it is currently having a large or moderate influence on the severity of heat waves (66%) in Columbus, and half believe it is influencing droughts (51%) and flooding of rivers or lakes (50%).
- Further, of those in Columbus who believe climate change is happening, large majorities expect to see a myriad of negative effects from it over the next 50 years. About nine in ten anticipate more heat waves (91%), worse storms (88%), or increased allergies, asthma, infectious diseases, or other health problems (88%). At least eight in ten believe the area will experience declining numbers of fish and native wildlife (84%), increased droughts and water shortages (84%), or more power outages (81%).
- More than half of people in Columbus say that more should be done about global warming at all levels of government—from Congress (61%) and President Obama (57%), to state legislators (57%) and Governor Kasich (56%), to local government officials (57%). However, even larger numbers in Columbus believe that corporations and industry (68%) or citizens themselves (66%) should be doing more to address climate change.
- However, most people in Columbus see global warming as a relatively distant threat. While 70% believe global warming will harm future generations of people and plant and animal species, only 31% believe it will harm them personally.
- The overwhelming majority of San Franciscans (87%) believes global warming is happening, while only 5% believe it is not happening.
- Two in three (67%) believe that if global warming is happening, it is mostly due to human activities. Moreover, seven in ten (69%) understand there is widespread agreement among scientists that climate change is happening.
- Of those San Franciscans who believe global warming is happening, most expect a myriad of negative effects over the next 50 years. Nine in ten anticipate more droughts and water shortages (91%), heat waves (89%), or declining numbers of fish and native wildlife (89%). Two in three (66%) expect that parts of the city will have to be abandoned in the next 50 years due to sea level rise.
- Majorities also say that more should be done about global warming at all levels of government—from Congress (69%) and President Obama (63%), to California state legislators (66%) and Governor Brown (62%), to local government officials (63%). However, even larger numbers of San Franciscans believe that citizens themselves (77%) and corporations and industry (75%) should be doing more to address climate change.
- Many San Franciscans say that a transition to cleaner energy would be good for the local economy, with six in ten (58%) saying that switching from fossil fuels to clean energy sources would increase local economic growth and the number of jobs.
Find out how Americans think about and value climate change in the 21st century.
Attitudes & Beliefs Citizen Behavior Risk Perceptions Six Americas Values & Religion
Our recent statewide surveys of Californians, Coloradans, Ohioans, and Texans find that majorities in each state say global warming is happening. This belief is most widespread in California (79%), but seven in ten in Colorado, Ohio, and Texas agree as well (70% in each).
There are also important differences between the states, however. For example:
- Over half of Californians say that, if global warming is happening, it is caused mostly by human activities (58%). By contrast, only 44% of Texans say global warming is caused mostly by human activities, and 31% say it is caused mostly by natural changes in the environment.
- Half or more of Californians (55%) and Texans (52%) say they have personally experienced the effects of global warming. Fewer in Colorado (48%) and Ohio (45%) say that they have.
- A majority of Californians (55%) understands that most scientists think global warming is happening. In the other three states surveyed, however, people are more likely to say that scientists disagree about whether or not global warming is happening.