Quantcast

Yale Poll: Climate Change ‘Personally Important’ to Record Number of Americans

Climate
Florida Fish and Wildlife officers responding after Hurricane Michael on Oct. 17, 2018. Gus Holzer / Florida Fish and Wildlife

A record number of Americans now say that global warming is "personally important" to them, according to the latest Climate Change and the American Mind survey released Tuesday by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC) and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication. That number has jumped to 72 percent, up nine percentage points since the survey was last conducted in March of 2018.


"People are beginning to understand that climate change is here in the United States, here in my state, in my community, affecting the people and places I care about, and now," YPCCC Director Dr. Leiserowitz told The New York Times. "This isn't happening in 50 years, 100 years from now."

The survey, which was conducted between November 28 and December 11 of 2018 to 1,114 adults, also found that the highest number of Americans yet accept that global warming is happening. At 73 percent, that number has risen three points since last March and 10 points since 2015.

Other key results indicate a shift in awareness:

  • Sixty-two percent of Americans think global warming is caused by humans.
  • Only 23 percent, a record low, say it is due to natural causes.
  • Sixty-nine percent of Americans are worried about global warming, a seven point jump since last March.
  • Forty-nine percent think they will be personally harmed by global warming, seven percent more than last March.
  • Forty-eight percent say people are being harmed by global warming in the U.S. right now, a nine percent increase since last March.
  • Fifty-four percent say they have personally experienced the impacts of global warming, five percent more than last March.

"I've never seen jumps in some of the key indicators like this," Leiserowitz told The New York Times.

Leiserowitz told The New York Times he thought the spike in climate awareness was due to several factors.

  1. An uptick in extreme weather events connected to climate change: The survey found that 65 percent of Americans think that global warming is already impacting whether in the U.S.. Fifty percent thought it made 2018's wildfires worse, and 49 percent said the same about Hurricanes Michael and Florence.
  2. The 2018 release of two major reports: Both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report warning we have 12 years to radically reduce the use of fossil fuels in order to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels and volume II of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, which laid out dire climate consequences for the U.S., drove up the sense of urgency surrounding the issue.
  3. President Donald Trump's climate denialism: Paradoxically, Trump's repeated denial of climate change is feeding Americans' increased awareness of and belief in the issue, Leiserowitz told The New York Times. This is partly because his highly-reported statements focus more media attention on the issue generally, but it is also because Trump is so divisive that when he holds a view, "he tends to drive a majority of the country in the opposite direction," Leiserowitz said.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Coral restoration in Guam. U.S. Pacific Fleet / CC BY-NC 2.0

By Erica Cirino

Visit a coral reef off the coast of Miami or the Maldives and you may see fields of bleached white instead of a burst of colors.

Read More
Cracker Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana. Jacob W. Frank / NPS / Flickr

By Jason Bittel

High up in the mountains of Montana's Glacier National Park, there are two species of insect that only a fly fishermen or entomologist would probably recognize. Known as stoneflies, these aquatic bugs are similar to dragonflies and mayflies in that they spend part of their lives underwater before emerging onto the land, where they transform into winged adults less than a half inch long. However, unlike those other species, stoneflies do their thing only where cold, clean waters flow.

Read More
Sponsored
Augusta National / Getty Images

By Bob Curley

  • The new chicken sandwiches at McDonald's, Popeyes, and Chick-fil-A all contain the MSG flavor enhancement chemical.
  • Experts say MSG can enhance the so-called umami flavor of a food.
  • The ingredient is found in everything from Chinese food and pizza to prepackaged sandwiches and table sauces.

McDonald's wants to get in on the chicken sandwich war currently being waged between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A.

Read More
Protesters march during a "Friday for future" youth demonstration in a street of Davos on Jan. 24 on the sideline of the World Economic Forum annual meeting. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Youth climate activists marched through the streets of Davos, Switzerland Friday as the World Economic Forum wrapped up in a Fridays for Future demonstration underscoring their demand that the global elite act swiftly to tackle the climate emergency.

Read More
chuchart duangdaw / Moment / Getty Images

By Tim Radford

The year is less than four weeks old, but scientists already know that carbon dioxide emissions will continue to head upwards — as they have every year since measurements began leading to a continuation of the Earth's rising heat.

Read More