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Public Perceptions of the Health Consequences of Global Warming

A new report, Public Perceptions of the Health Consequences of Global Warming, analyzing results from our national survey conducted in October 2014, finds that Americans are generally unaware of the potential health consequences of global warming. When asked what global warming-related health problems, if any, Americans are experiencing, only about one in four respondents (27%) named at least one health problem known to be related to global warming.
 

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Americans Support CO2 Limits on Existing Coal-Fired Power Plants

Despite the debate in Congress over proposed EPA regulations, a solid majority of Americans (67%) support setting strict carbon dioxide emission limits on existing coal-fired power plants to reduce global warming and improve public health, according to our October 2014 survey.

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Politics & Global Warming, Spring 2014

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.

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Climate Change in the American Mind April 2014

Americans Appear More Certain That Global Warming Is Happening.

Our most recent survey, conducted in April, 2014, finds that by more than a three-to-one margin, more Americans think global warming is happening than think it is not. Currently, 64% of Americans think global is happening, a number that has been relatively stable over the past three years.  

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What's In A Name? Global Warming vs Climate 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.

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New Commentary Urges Climate Scientists to "Set the Record Straight"

We just published a commentary in Earth’s Future, a new online, open-access journal published by the American Geophysical Union.  The commentary is entitled: “Climate Scientists Need to Set the Record Straight: There is a scientific consensus that human-caused climate change is happening.”

In the commentary, we argue that the climate science community needs to do more to communicate the scientific consensus because: (a) most Americans don’t know there is a scientific consensus on this point; (b) this lack of awareness undermines people’s engagement in the issue; and (c) research by our team – and others – has shown that simple messages that communicate this basic scientific conclusion are highly effective, especially with political conservatives.

We encourage you to download the commentary and join the effort to set the record straight.

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Global Warming's Six Americas: book chapter preview

We are pleased to provide an adapted version of our chapter in a terrific forthcoming book edited by Anders Hanson and Robbie Cox: Handbook of Environment and Communication (Routledge, December 2014).

Abstract: Global climate change – a threat of potentially unprecedented magnitude – is viewed from a variety of perspectives by Americans, with some dismissing the danger, some entirely unaware of its significance, and still others highly concerned and motivated to take action.  Understanding the sources of these diverse perspectives is key to effective audience engagement: Messages that ignore the cultural and political underpinnings of people's views on climate change are less likely to succeed. 
 

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Americans' Actions to Limit Global Warming November 2013

Highlights:

* 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.

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Public Support for Climate and Energy Policies in November 2013

Highlights:

Large majorities of Americans support national action on global warming:

• Most Americans (83%) say the U.S. should make an effort to reduce global warming, even if it has economic costs.

• Majorities of Americans say that corporations and industry (65%), citizens themselves (61%), and the U.S. Congress (52%) should be doing more to address global warming.

• A majority of Americans (71%) say global warming should be a priority for the president and Congress.
 

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Extreme Weather and Climate Change in the American Mind in November 2013

Highlights:

  • 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.

 

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Climate Change in the American Mind: Americans' Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes in November 2013

The most recent national Climate Change in the American Mind survey found that 1 in 4 Americans think that global warming is not happening, and half say they are "worried" about it. 

Other highlights include:

  • There has been an increase in the proportion of Americans who believe global warming is not happening (23%, up 7 percentage points since April 2013). But about two in three Americans (63%) believe global warming is happening, a number that has been consistent since spring 2013.
  • The proportion of Americans who say they “don’t know” whether or not global warming is happening has dropped 6 points – from 20% to 14% – since spring of 2013.
  • About half of Americans (51%) say they are “somewhat” (38%) or “very worried” (15%) about global warming.
  • Fewer than half of Americans (38%) believe they personally will be harmed a “moderate amount” or a “great deal” by global warming.
  • By contrast, majorities believe that global warming will harm future generations of people (65%) and plant and animal species (65%).
  • About four in 10 say they feel “helpless” (43%), “disgusted” (42%), or “sad” (40%) when thinking about global warming.
  • By contrast, four in ten (42%), say they feel “hopeful” about the subject.
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Climate Change in the Columbus, Ohioan Mind

Highlights:

  • 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.
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Climate Change in the San Franciscan Mind

Highlights:

  • 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.
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Climate Change in the American Mind: Focus on California, Colorado, Ohio and Texas

Highlights:

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.
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Climate Change in the Texan Mind

Highlights:

  • 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.
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Climate Change in the Ohioan Mind

Highlights:

  • Most people in Ohio (70%) believe global warming is happening, while only 16% believe it is not. 
  • Half (49%) believe that if global warming is happening, it is mostly due to human activities.
  • Of those who believe global warming is happening, large majorities say that it is already having an influence on the severity of heat waves (90%), droughts (88%), and flooding of rivers or lakes (87%) in Ohio.
  • Among those who believe climate change is happening, large majorities say that over the next 50 years, climate change will cause more heat waves (89%), worse storms (84%), declining numbers of fish and native wildlife (82%), droughts and water shortages (82%), increased allergies, asthma, infectious diseases, or other health problems (83%), and more power outages (78%) in the state.
  • Solid majorities of Ohioans support government action at all levels of government: Congress (59%), President Obama (54%), Ohio’s state legislature (56%), Governor Kasich (54%), and local government officials (53%).
  • Even more say that corporations and industry (69%) and citizens themselves (65%) should be doing more to address climate change.
  • Ohioans still 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 35% believe it will harm them personally.

Please note:  the numbers cited above have been corrected from the original press release distributed Wednesday, September 18th and have been confirmed.

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Climate Change in the Californian Mind

Highlights:

  • 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.
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Climate Change in the Coloradan Mind

Highlights:

  • 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
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How Americans Communicate About Global Warming April 2013

Highlights:

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.

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Americans’ Actions to Limit Global Warming April 2013

Highlights

Consumer Behavior:

  • 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%).

Civic Behavior:

  • 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%).
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Fracking in the American Mind

In our September 2012 Climate Change in the American Mind survey, we asked respondents to answer a series of questions about hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” as the process is commonly known. This issue has proven to be very controversial in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world. Proponents and opponents debate potential impacts on the economy, energy supply, public health, the environment, and communities.

This report includes an extensive analysis of the findings from those survey questions.  In “Fracking” in the American Mind: Americans’ Views on Hydraulic Fracturing in September, 2012, we find that, surprisingly, Americans have limited familiarity with this issue, and fewer than half of American adults have developed an opinion in support or in opposition to it. The minority who has formed an opinion are more or less evenly split between supporters and opponents.

 

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Global Warming's Six Indias

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%)

 

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Public Support for Climate & Energy Policies in April 2013

Highlights:

• A large majority of Americans (87%, down 5 percentage points since Fall 2012) say the president and the Congress should make developing sources of clean energy a “very high” (26%), “high” (32%), or medium priority (28%). Few say it should be a low priority (12%).
• Most Americans (70%, down 7 points since Fall 2012) say global warming should be a “very high” (16%), “high” (26%), or “medium priority” (29%) for the president and Congress. Three in ten (28%) say it should be a low priority.

• Majorities of Americans support:

• Providing tax rebates for people who purchase energy-efficient vehicles or solar panels (71%);
• Funding more research into renewable energy sources (70%);
• Regulating CO2 as a pollutant (68%);
• Requiring fossil fuel companies to pay a carbon tax and using the money to pay down the national debt (61%);
• Eliminating all subsidies for the fossil-fuel industry (59%);
• Expanding offshore drilling for oil and natural gas off the U.S. coast (58%);
• Requiring electric utilities to produce at least 20% of their electricity from renewable energy sources, even if it costs the average household an extra $100 a year (55%).

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Americans' Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes in April 2013

Highlights

  • Nearly two in three Americans (63%) believe global warming is happening. Relatively few – only 16 percent – believe it is not. However, since Fall 2012, the percentage of Americans who believe global warming is happening has dropped 7 points to 63%, likely influenced by the relatively cold winter of 2012-13 in the United States and an unusually cold March just before the survey was conducted.
  • Those who believe global warming is happening are more certain of their convictions than those who do not. Of the 63% of Americans who believe global warming is happening, most say they are “very” (33%) or “extremely sure” (27%). By contrast, of the unconvinced, fewer are very (28%) or extremely sure of their view (18%).
  • About half of Americans (49%) believe global warming – if it is happening – is caused mostly by human activities, a decrease of 5 points since Fall 2012, but similar to levels stretching back several years.
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Extreme Weather and Climate Change in the American Mind April 2013

Highlights:

  • About six in ten Americans (58%) say “global warming is affecting weather in the United States.”
  • Many Americans believe global warming made recent extreme weather and climatic events “more severe,” specifically: 2012 as the warmest year on record in the United States (50%); the ongoing drought in the Midwest and the Great Plains (49%); Superstorm Sandy (46%); and Superstorm Nemo (42%).
  • About two out of three Americans say weather in the U.S. has been worse over the past several years, up 12 percentage points since Spring 2012. By contrast, fewer Americans say weather has been getting better over the past several years – only one in ten (11%), down 16 points compared to a year ago.
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A National Survey of Republicans and Republican-­‐Leaning Independents on Energy and Climate Change

Highlights:

  • A majority of respondents (52%) believe climate change is happening, while 26 percent believe it is not, and 22 percent say they “don’t know.”
  • A large majority (77%) says the United States should use more renewable energy sources (solar, wind & geothermal) in the future. Among those who support expanded use of renewable energy, nearly 7 out of 10 think the U.S. should increase the use of renewable energy “immediately”.
  • By a margin of 2 to 1, respondents say America should take action to reduce our fossil fuel use.
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Global Warming's Six Americas in September 2012

In this update on Global Warming's Six Americas, we report that the Alarmed have grown from 10 percent of the American adult population in 2010 to 16 percent in 2012. At the same time, the Dismissive have decreased in size, from 16 percent in 2010 to 8 percent in 2012.  The report focuses on how the six groups perceive the benefits and costs of reducing fossil fuel use or global warming; their support for different national climate change and energy policies; and their beliefs about who has influence over the decisions that elected officials make.

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The Political Benefits to Taking a Pro-Climate Stand in 2013

This brief report draws upon data from our latest national survey (September 2012) to investigate this question: On balance, do political leaders stand to benefit, or not, from talking about and supporting action to address global warming?

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Americans’ Actions to Limit Global Warming September 2012

Highlights

  • 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...
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Public Climate Change Awareness and Climate Change Communication in China

Highlights

  • 93 percent of respondents say they know at least a little about climate change. 11 percent say they know a lot, 54 percent know something, and 28 percent know just a little about it. 7 percent have never heard of climate change.
  • 55 percent say that climate change is caused mostly by human activities, while 38 percent say that climate change is caused mostly by natural changes in the environment.
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Public Support for Climate and Energy Policies in September 2012

Highlights

  • A large majority of Americans (77%) say global warming should be a “very high” (18%), “high” (25%), or “medium” priority (34%) for the president and Congress. One in four (23%) say it should be a low priority.
  • Nearly all Americans (92%) say the president and the Congress should make developing sources of clean energy a “very high” (31%), “high” (38%), or “medium” priority (23%)....
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Americans’ Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes in September 2012

Highlights

  • Americans’ belief in the reality of global warming has increased by 13 percentage points over the past two and a half years, from 57 percent in January 2010 to 70 percent in September 2012. At the same time, the number of Americans who say global warming is not happening has declined nearly by half, from 20 percent in January 2010 to only 12 percent today...
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Extreme Weather and Climate Change in the American Mind

Highlights

  • A large and growing majority of Americans say “global warming is affecting weather in the United States” (74%, up 5 points since our last national survey in March 2012).
  • Asked about six recent extreme weather events in the United States, including record high summer temperatures, the Midwest drought, and the unusually warm winter and spring of 2011-12, majorities say global warming made each event “worse"...
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The Potential Impact of Global Warming on the 2012 Presidential Election

Highlights

A new national survey finds that 11% of likely voters remain undecided about whom they will vote for President. The majority of these undecided voters say the Presidential candidates’ positions on global warming will be one of several important factors determining how they cast their vote.

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Climate Change in the Indian Mind

Highlights

Millions of Indians are observing changes in their local rainfall, temperatures, and weather, report more frequent droughts and floods, and a more unpredictable monsoon.

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The Political Benefits of Taking a Pro-Climate Stand in 2012

This brief report draws upon data from a nationally representative survey conducted in March 2012 (Climate Change in the American Mind) and other research to investigate the question: On balance, will candidates for political office benefit or be harmed by talking about and supporting action to reduce global warming?

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Global Warming’s Six Americas in March 2012 and November 2011

Highlights:

  • The size of the Six Americas has remained relatively stable since May 2011, with two exceptions: the Disengaged are now only 6 percent of the adult population (down from 10% in May 2011); and the Cautious have increased to 29 percent (up from 24% in May 2011)...
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Americans’ Actions to Conserve Energy, Reduce Waste, and Limit Global Warming March 2012

Highlights:

  • In the past year, more than half of Americans (56 percent) say they have attempted to reduce their family’s energy consumption.
  • Over the next 12 months, 52 percent of Americans intend to reward or punish companies for their global warming-related behaviors by...
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Americans’ Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes in March 2012

Americans' Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes in March 2012 reports results from a national survey of Americans' global warming beliefs and attitudes. Overall, Americans' beliefs and attitudes about global warming have remained relatively stable over the past several months, with a few exceptions. There has been a slight increase in the proportion of people that believe global warming is happening and a slight decrease in the proportion that believe it is caused by mostly by human activities...

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Public Support for Climate & Energy Policies in March 2012

Public Support for Climate and Energy Policies in March 2012 reports results from a nationally representative survey of 1,008 American adults, aged 18 and older, fielded March 12 through March 30, 2012, using the online research panel of Knowledge Networks. The report includes measures of public priorities for global warming and clean energy, desired action from elected officials, corporations, and citizens, support and opposition to climate and energy policies, and voting intentions. The report also includes a breakdown of responses among registered voters by political party.

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Extreme Weather, Climate, and Preparedness

Extreme Weather, Climate & Preparedness in the American Mind reports results from a nationally representative survey of 1,008 American adults, aged 18 and older, fielded March 12 through March 30, 2012, using the online research panel of Knowledge Networks. The report includes measures of public observations and experiences of weather, opinions about the links between global warming and particular extreme weather events, levels of household preparedness, and use of local weather forecasts.

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Global Warming's Six Americas Screener Manual

This manual was developed to assist interested parties in using the Global Warming’s Six Americas audience segmentation typology.  The segmentation typology is fully described in Maibach, Leiserowitz, Roser-Renouf, & Mertz (2011)....

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Americans’ Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes in November 2011

Highlights and Changes since May 2011:

  • Public understanding that global warming is happening remained essentially unchanged at 63 percent, while belief that it is caused mostly by human activities increased three points since May 2011, to 50 percent.
  • A majority of Americans (57%) now disagree with the statement, “With the economy in such bad shape, the US can’t afford to reduce global warming” – an 8 point increase in disagreement since May 2011.
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Politics and Global Warming: Democrats, Republicans, Independents and the Tea Party

A special report, Politics & Global Warming: Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and the Tea Party reports how the members of each political party respond to the issue of global warming. The Tea Party has become an important new player in American politics, so this report for the first time separates their views on global warming from the traditional political categories of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.

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Global Warming’s Six Americas in May 2011

Nearly 40 percent of American adults are in the two groups most concerned about climate change – the Alarmed and the Concerned – while 25 percent of Americans are in the two groups least concerned about the issue – the Dismissive and Doubtful

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Americans’ Actions to Conserve Energy, Reduce Waste, and Limit Global Warming in May 2011

Highlights

Since June 2010, there has been a decline in a few energy conservation behaviors, but an increase in some consumer activism. For example:

  • 45 percent of Americans report that they often or always set the thermostat to 68 degrees or cooler in the winter, an 11-point drop since 2010.
  • Americans say they are less likely to walk or bike, instead of driving, than in 2010.
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Public Support for Climate & Energy Policies in May 2011

Priority

  • 71 percent of Americans say global warming should be a very high (13%), high (27%), or medium (31%) priority for the president and Congress, including 50 percent of Republicans, 66 percent of Independents, and 88 percent of Democrats.
  • 91 percent of Americans say developing sources of clean energy should be a very high (32%), high (35%), or medium (24%) priority for the president and Congress, including 85 percent of Republicans, 89 percent of Independents, and 97 percent of Democrats.
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Americans’ Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes in May 2011

Highlights and changes since June 2010:

  • Roughly half of all Americans believe that global warming is already causing or making the following things worse in the United States: coastline erosion and flooding, droughts, hurricanes, rivers flooding, and wildfires.
  • Public understanding that global warming is happening rose 3 points, to 64 percent.
  • Public understanding that it is caused mostly by human activities declined three points, to 47 percent.
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American Teens’ Knowledge of Climate Change

American Teens’ Knowledge of Climate Change reports results from a national study of what American teens in middle and high school understand about how the climate system works, and the causes, impacts and potential solutions to global warming. This report describes how knowledge of climate change varies across both American teens and adults. Using a straight grading scale, 25 percent of teens received a passing grade (A, B, or C), compared to 30 percent of American adults. While knowledge levels vary, these results also indicate that relatively few teens have an in-depth understanding of climate change. For more information, please click on the PDF.

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Knowledge of Climate Change Among Visitors to Science & Technology Museums

Knowledge of Climate Change Among Science & Technology Museum Visitors reports results from a national study of what the American public understands about how the climate system works, and the causes, impacts and potential solutions to global warming. This report describes how knowledge of climate change varies across Science and Technology Museum visitors. Using a straight grading scale, 38% of both occasional and frequent museum visitors received a passing grade (A, B, or C), compared to 19% of non-visitors. While knowledge levels vary across the groups, these results also indicate that relatively few museum visitors have an in-depth understanding of climate change. For more information, please click on the PDF.

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Knowledge of Climate Change Across Global Warming's Six Americas

This report draws from a national study conducted in 2010 on what Americans understand about how the climate system works, and the causes, impacts, and potential solutions to global warming. This report then examines climate literacy across Global Warming's Six Americas.

Overall, knowledge about climate change varies widely across the Six Americas - 49 percent of the Alarmed received a passing grade (A, B, or C), compared to 33 percent of the Concerned, 16 percent of the Cautious, 17 percent of the Doubtful, 4 percent of the Dismissive, and 5 percent of the Disengaged. In general, the Alarmed and the Concerned better understand how the climate system works and the causes, consequences, and solutions to climate change than the Disengaged, the Doubtful and the Dismissive.

These and other results within the report demonstrate that most Americans both need and desire more information about climate change. While information alone is not sufficient to engage the public in the issue, it is often a necessary precursor of effective action.

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Americans’ Knowledge of Climate Change

Americans’ Knowledge of Climate Change reports results from a national study of what Americans understand about how the climate system works, and the causes, impacts, and potential solutions to global warming. Among other findings, the study identifies a number of important gaps in public knowledge and common misconceptions about climate change.

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Americans’ Actions to Conserve Energy, Reduce Waste, and Limit Global Warming in June 2010

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Global Warming’s Six Americas: June 2010

 

This report extends and updates an ongoing program of research analyzing Americans’ interpretations of and responses to climate change. This research segments the American public into six audiences that range along a spectrum of concern and issue engagement from the Alarmed, who are convinced of the reality and danger of climate change, and who are highly supportive of personal and political actions to mitigate the threat, to the Dismissive, who are equally convinced that climate change is not occurring and that no response should be made.

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American Opinion on Climate Change Warms Up

Public concern about global warming appears to be on the rise again, after a year of significant declines, according to a new national survey conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.

Since January, public belief that global warming is happening rose four points, to 61 percent, while belief that it is caused mostly by human activities rose three points, to 50 percent.

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Americans’ Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes in June 2010

A national survey of Americans' global warming beliefs and attitudes. The survey was fielded from May 14 to June 1, 2010 with a nationally representative sample of 1,024 adults, using the online research panel of Knowledge Networks.

The report includes measures of public global warming beliefs, risk perceptions, personal importance, information needs, trust in different information sources, attitudes towards individual action, and how these have changed since January, 2010 and November, 2008. A few highlights and changes since January, 2010:

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Public Support for Climate & Energy Policies in June 2010

A national survey of Americans' support and opposition to climate and energy policies. The survey was fielded from May 14 to June 1, 2010 with a nationally representative sample of 1,024 adults, using the online research panel of Knowledge Networks.

The report includes measures of overall public support for specific policies, a breakdown by political party, and how public support has changed since January, 2010 and November, 2008. A few highlights and changes since January, 2010:

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Race, Ethnicity and Public Responses to Climate Change

In this report we examine public support for climate change and energy policies among different racial and ethnic groups. We find that in many cases, minorities are equally as supportive, and often more supportive of national climate and energy policies, than white Americans.

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Citizen's Guide to Taking Action on Climate Change

Scientists currently estimate that avoiding dangerous climate change would require significant emissions reductions below 1990 levels by 2050. In addition to preventing dangerous impacts from climate change such as sea level rise and severe weather events, climate action can promote economic prosperity, energy security, more livable communities, and create ample cost-saving opportunities for businesses and homes.

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Youth Less Concerned About Global Warming than their Elders?

Today the Yale Project on Climate Change is releasing a report entitled, “The Climate Change Generation?: Survey Analysis of the Perceptions and Beliefs of Young Americans.” Here is an excerpt from the Executive Summary:  

 

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The Climate Change Generation?: A Survey Analysis of the Perceptions and Beliefs of Young Americans

American adults under the age of 35 have come of age in the decades since the “discovery” of man-made climate change as a major societal problem. The oldest of this cohort was twelve in 1988, when NASA climate scientist James Hansen testified at a Senate Energy Committee hearing that global temperature rise was underway and that human-produced greenhouse gases were almost certainly responsible.

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Global Warming’s Six Americas 2010

In 2009 we identified six distinct “Americas” when it comes to the issue of global warming. One year later, we are releasing a report on the status of these six key audiences. We have found that one of these groups: the “Dismissive” – who believe global warming is not happening…

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Do Americans’ Actions Speak Louder than Words on Climate & Energy?

The Yale Project on Climate Change released in its 3rd report: Americans’ Actions to Conserve Energy, Reduce Waste, and Limit Global Warming. In brief, found that there is a significant gap between Americans’ conservation attitudes and their actual behaviors.

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Americans’ Actions to Conserve Energy, Reduce Waste, and Limit Global Warming. January 2010

Today we are releasing our latest report: Americans’ Actions to Conserve Energy, Reduce Waste, and Limit Global Warming. In brief, we found that there is a significant gap between Americans’ conservation attitudes and their actual behaviors. For example:

  • 88 percent of Americans say it is important to recycle at home, but only 51 percent “often” or “always” do;
  • 81 percent say it is important to use re-usable shopping bags, but only 33 percent “often” or “always” do;
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Public Support for Climate & Energy Policies in January 2010

Today the Yale Project on Climate Change is releasing the second wave of results from their recent national survey. This report finds that, despite the recent drops in public beliefs and concern about global warming, a large majority of Americans—regardless of political affiliation—support the passage of federal climate and energy policies.

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Americans Support Strong Climate & Energy Policies

Today the Yale Project on Climate Change is releasing the second wave of results from their recent national survey. This report finds that, despite the recent drops in public beliefs and concern about global warming, a large majority of Americans—regardless of political affiliation—support the passage of federal climate and energy policies.

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Americans' Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes in January, 2010

The results of a new national survey on public responses to climate change focuses on public beliefs and attitudes and finds that public concern about global warming has dropped sharply since the fall of 2008: The percentage of Americans who think global warming is happening has declined 14 points, to…

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International Public Opinion, Perception, and Understanding of Global Climate Change

Natural scientists have described global warming as perhaps the preeminent environmental risk confronting the world in the 21st century. Meanwhile, social scientists have found that public risk perceptions strongly influence the way people respond to hazards. What the public perceives as a risk, why they perceive it that way, and how they will subsequently behave are thus vital questions for policy makers attempting to address global climate change, in which the effects are delayed, have inequitable distributions of costs and benefits, and are beyond the control of any one group.

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Global Warming's Six Americas 2009

One of the first rules of effective communication is to “know thy audience.” Climate change public communication and engagement efforts must start with the fundamental recognition that people are different and have different psychological, cultural, and political reasons for acting – or not acting– to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This report identifies Global Warming’s Six Americas: six unique audiences within the American public that each responds to the issue in their own distinct way.  The six audiences were identified using a large nationally representative survey of American adults conducted in the fall of 2008.

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Global Warming and the 2008 Presidential Election

Nearly two out of three undecided voters say that the presidential candidates' positions on global warming will influence their vote in the upcoming election, according to a new national survey released jointly today by researchers at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and George Mason University. Consistent with other recent polls, the survey found that 48 percent of registered voters said they will vote or are leaning toward voting for Barack Obama, while 39 percent say they will vote or are leaning toward voting for John McCain. Nine percent of registered voters were still undecided as of Oct. 14.

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Saving Energy at Home and on the Road: November, 2008

Reducing energy use is near the top of the agenda at every level of government: President Obama, Congress, federal agencies, state and local government, as well as community organizations across the nation are currently considering a variety of policies and programs to encourage and help American families become more energy-efficient in their homes and travels.  To be truly effective, however, a national strategy must take into account the energy efficiency and conservation actions Americans have already taken, the actions they intend to take (perhaps with some support), the reasons that motivate energy conservation, and the barriers that currently prevent Americans from saving more energy.

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Florida: Public Opinion on Climate Change

A survey of Floridians in May 2008 found that most were convinced that global warming is happening now and that more should be done by key leaders to help Florida deal with climate change. The survey was the first-ever study of Floridians' opinions about global warming and was conducted by researchers at Yale University and the University of Miami, with funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation.

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Consumer Attitudes Toward Environmentally-Friendly Products and Eco-labeling: 2008

More than ever before, consumers face a plethora of labels making claims about the environmental-friendliness of products. The use of labels is promoted in hopes of ameliorating diverse environmental harms – from pesticide use and fish-stock depletion. They are sponsored by various organizations, including government agencies, industry groups and environmental groups. The GfK Roper Yale Survey sought to understand the perceptions of eco-labels and environmentally-friendly products held by Americans and Canadians.

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New York City Global Warming Survey

The first-ever in-depth study of public climate change risk perceptions, policy preferences, and behaviors in a major urban center – New York City. This study was designed and sponsored by the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED) at Columbia University and the Yale Project on Climate Change (YPCC) at Yale University. The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research International and using telephone interviews with a representative sample of 1,000 adults living in New York City households. Interviews were done in English and Spanish by Princeton Data Source, LLC from November 28 to December 16, 2007.

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American Support for Local Action on Global Warming

Recent national surveys demonstrate that Americans are increasingly convinced that global warming is occurring and favor a wide range of national and international policies to slow it. We currently have almost no understanding, however, about public support for action on global warming by cities and local governments. Yet cities and local governments are critical players, as most of the greenhouse gases contributing to global warming come from urban areas. Building codes, zoning, transportation systems, and electricity production are all examples of critical choices made at the local level, with large consequences on greenhouse gas emissions.

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Surveying the Impact of Live Earth on American Public Opinion

Live Earth was a global concert event to “combat the climate crisis,” featuring over 150 of the world’s leading musicians and held on 7 continents on July 7, 2007. It reached an estimated global audience of over 2 billion through ticket sales, television, radio, and the internet. Live Earth was the most recent of a series of global concert events, such as The Concert for Bangladesh (1971), Live Aid (1985), Live 8 (2005), etc., intended to either raise money and/or public awareness about pressing global issues. These concert events have each received great media attention, global audiences, and in some cases raised hundreds of millions of dollars for their respective causes, yet their actual impact on public awareness, concern, and behavior is almost completely unknown.

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American Opinions on Global Warming: A Yale/Gallup/Clearvision Poll

Overall, a large majority of the American public were personally convinced that global warming is happening (71%). Surprisingly, however, only 48 percent believed that there is consensus among the scientific community, while 40 percent of Americans believed there is a lot of disagreement among scientists over whether global warming is occurring. Thus, many Americans appeared to have already made up their minds, without waiting for a perceived scientific consensus. Further, 69 percent of Americans believed that global warming is caused mainly by human activities (57%), or caused equally by humans and natural changes (12%), while only 29 percent believed it is caused mostly by natural changes in the environment.

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Americans and Climate Change: Closing the Gap Between Science and Action

A Synthesis of Insights and Recommendations from the 2005 Yale F&ES Conference on Climate Change.

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