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
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.
- Most Texans (70%) believe global warming is happening. Relatively few (14%) believe it is not.
- Fewer than half (44%) believe that if global warming is happening, it is caused mostly by human activities. Three in ten (31%) believe it is caused mostly by natural changes in the environment.
- About half of Texans (52%) say they have personally experienced the effects of global warming.
- Among Texans who believe global warming is happening, large majorities expect to see a myriad of negative effects over the next 50 years. Nearly all anticipate more heat waves (95%) and increased drought and water shortages (92%) in Texas due to global warming. More than eight in ten believe Texas will experience worse storms, hurricanes, or tornadoes (87%), declining numbers of fish and native wildlife (86%), and increased allergies, asthma, infectious diseases, or other health problems (85%) due to global warming.
- More than half of Texans say that more should be done about global warming at all levels of government—from Congress (62%) and President Obama (57%), to Governor Perry (59%) and Texas’s state legislature (56%), to local government officials (60%).
- Even larger numbers of Texans believe that citizens themselves (69%) and corporations and industry (68%) should be doing more to address climate change.
- Most Californians (79%) believe global warming is happening, while only 11% believe it is not.
- Over half (58%) believe that if global warming is happening, it is mostly due to human activities.
- A majority (55%) also believes that most scientists think global warming is happening.
Of those who believe global warming is happening, large majorities say that:
- Global warming is already having an influence on the severity of heat waves (96%), wildfires (91%), and droughts (90%) in California.
- Over the next 50 years, climate change will cause more heat waves (93%), droughts and water shortages (92%), declining numbers of fish and native wildlife (91%), increased allergies, asthma, infectious diseases, or other health problems (86%), and more power outages (84%) in the state.
The study also found that Californians support more climate action:
- Six in ten want more action by Governor Brown, the state legislature, and local government officials.
- Even more say corporations and industry (73%) and citizens themselves (70%) should be doing more to address the issue.
- Most Coloradans (70%) believe global warming is happening. Relatively few—only 19%— believe it is not.
- Nearly half (48%) believe global warming is caused mostly by human activities.
- Coloradans think global warming is important and are worried about it. Three in four (73%) say the issue of global warming is very or somewhat important to them personally. And six in ten (59%) are at least somewhat worried about it.
- Among those who believe global warming is happening, 70% believe it is currently contributing to increased droughts and decreased snowpack, and 66% believe it is exacerbating wildfires.
- About half of Coloradans (48%) say they have personally experienced global warming’s effects.
- More than half of Coloradans say that more should be done about global warming at all levels of government—from President Obama and Congress, to Governor Hickenlooper and the state legislature, to local government officials. However, even larger numbers of Coloradans believe that corporations and industry (67%) and citizens themselves (66%) should be doing more to address climate change.
- Half of Coloradans (52%) say that switching from fossil fuels to clean energy sources would increase economic growth and the number of jobs
One in four Americans (24%) would support an organizaton that engaged in non-violent civil disobedience against corporate or government activities that make global warming worse.
One in eight (13%) say they would be willing to personally engage in non-violent civil disobedience for the same reason.
In the past year, Americans were more likely to discuss global warming with family and friends than to communicate about it using social media (33% versus 7%).
Americans are most likely to identify their own friends and family, such as a significant other (27%), son or daughter (21%), or close friend (17%), as the people who could motivate them to take action to reduce global warming.Attitudes & Beliefs Citizen Behavior Consumer Behavior Media Risk Communication Six Americas
- Half of all Americans at least occasionally consider environmental impacts when deciding whether or not to buy a product.
- At least four in ten Americans say they “often” or “occasionally” bought food grown or produced locally (69%) or organic food (42%) in the past 12 months, while eight in ten intend to buy locally grown or produced food and six in ten intend to buy organic food in the next 12 months.
- Asked if, the next time they make a purchase, they intend to buy specific energy-efficient items, majorities of Americans say they will buy an energy-efficient kitchen appliance (75%), home water heater (71%), home air conditioner (68%), or home furnace (67%). Six in ten say the next time they purchase a car, it will average 30 miles or more per gallon (61%).
- Three in ten Americans (28%) say that, in the past 12 months, they have rewarded companies taking steps to reduce global warming by buying their products. About one in five (21%) also say that in the past 12 months they have punished companies opposing steps to reduce global warming by not purchasing their products.
- In the past 12 months, one in four Americans (26%) say they discussed what they see as a company’s irresponsible environmental behavior with friends or family. One in ten has spread information about offending companies via the Internet (10%).
- Nearly four out of ten Americans (38%) say that they would be willing to join a campaign to convince elected officials to do “the right thing” about global warming.
- Over the past 12 months, five to ten percent of Americans have “often” or “occasionally” signed a petition about global warming (10%); shared information about global warming on Facebook or Twitter (7%); donated money to an organization working on global warming (7%); donated money to a political candidate because they share your views on global warming (6%); posted a comment online in response to a news story or blog about global warming (6%); written letters, emailed, or phoned a newspaper about global warming (5%); or volunteered time to elect a political candidate because they share your views on global warming (5%).
A new national study in India finds six distinct groups within the Indian public that respond to the issue of climate change in very different ways. These "Six Indias" include:
- The Informed (19%)
- The Experienced (24%)
- The Undecided (15%)
- The Unconcerned (15%)
- The Indifferent (11%)
- The Disengaged (16%)
Attitudes & Beliefs Citizen Behavior Consumer Behavior Energy Use / Conservation International Surveys Knowledge / Climate Literacy Policy Support Risk Perceptions Six Americas Trust Values & Religion Vulnerability & Resilience
Environmental uncertainty is at the core of much of human activity, ranging from daily decisions by individuals to long-term policy planning by governments. Yet, there is little quantitative evidence on the ability of non-expert individuals or populations to forecast climate-related events. Here we report on data from a 90-year old prediction game on a climate related event in Alaska: the Nenana Ice Classic (NIC). Participants in this contest...Attitudes & Beliefs Consumer Behavior
- The number of Americans who say they “always” or “often” walk or bike instead of driving is at its highest recorded level (25%) and has risen considerably since March (up 14 points). Americans today are also more likely say they use public transportation or carpool (17%), returning to a level last observed in November 2008 (18%)
- Compact fluorescent light bulbs continue to be adopted by the American consumer, with 57 percent now reporting that most or all of the light bulbs in their home are CFLs – up from 40% in November 2008...