Climate change in the American mind

The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication have built up an impressive body of work on the state of the public consensus around climate change.


If you work on climate change in the U.S., this is the definitive quarterly reporting of whether all the communications and advocacy campaigns have been successful in moving public opinion yet.


Not only do a majority of Americans now believe global warming is happening, they’re increasingly certain, with two in three respondents saying they are ‘extremely certain’.

52% of Americans now recognize humans as the major cause of global warming.

There is still confusion around the scientific consensus – most respondents didn’t know 97% of climate scientists agree that global warming is real, or didn’t accept that fact as real. Only one in ten correctly identified the scientific consensus.

Two thirds of the American people still see climate change as a distant threat – ‘not me, not here, not now’. Only 15% of respondents are ‘very worried’ about climate change. 67% of respondents said that future generations will be harmed by climate change.

The pessimists still outnumber the optimists as to whether we’ll do anything about global warming, with 42% saying we could do something but it’s unclear whether we’ll do what’s necessary. 

image: Stefan Georgi, cc via flickr

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