Climate Change is on America's Mind

A new research report out today details the fact that, despite the global economic meltdown, over 90 percent of Americans agree that the U.S. should act rapidly to combat global warming, including 34 percent who feel the U.S. should make a large-scale effort even if it costs a lot of money.

Americans overwhelmingly support calls for a comprehensive set of climate change and energy policies, including funding for research on renewable energy (92%); tax rebates for people buying fuel-efficient vehicles or solar panels (85%); and regulation of carbon dioxide as a pollutant (80%).

The study [PDF], entitled “Climate Change in the American Mind: Americans’ Climate Change Beliefs, Attitudes, Policy Preferences, and Actions,” was conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Change and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication – both of which are objective professional groups known for their cautious approach to opinion research.  The study authors surveyed over 2,000 Americans last fall to extrapolate the nationwide figures. 

Highlighting the increasingly powerful role of consumer activism in pressuring companies to take bold steps forward, the researchers found that roughly half of Americans are willing to reward or punish companies for their climate change-related activities. However, two-thirds of those consumers surveyed said they did not know which companies to target, posing a barrier to effective consumer advocacy campaigns.

Despite the majority opinion that consumer advocacy is needed to help solve this crisis, the public “remains relatively disorganized” in how it advocates for change, the report says.

While the majority of Americans now understand that global warming is real, human-caused, already upon us and posing an increasingly serious threat to our economy and the environment, there is much work left to be done to educate the public on how to affect real change in the status quo.

The report concludes that “[t]he success or failure of climate change action in the United States will depend, in no small part, on the ability of leaders, organizations, and institutions at all levels of society to effectively educate, organize, and mobilize the American public.”

That’s a role that we here at DeSmogBlog understand first-hand.  Given the continued attention paid to global warming deniers in media coverage, there is much work still to be done.  But surveys like these show repeatedly that the public gets it and is gaining clarity on how to act, slowly but surely.

This month we’re giving away FREE copies Keith Farnish’s new book Times Up: an uncivilized solution to a global crisis.

Go here to find out more details about DeSmogBlog’s monthly book give-away.


“90 percent of Americans agree that the U.S. should act rapidly to combat global warming”

They also believe that little old ladies should be helped across the sidewalk - but they aren’t about to do that either.  Somebody else can do that.

Change goes around us all the time. Even the weather has to change at some point…man can try all they want to stop the change, but its going to happen one way or the other…Just my 2 cents

Allen Lemoine

current change in climate is natural and would happen anyway.

Allen’s irrelevant hand-waving is intended to distract your attention from the inconvenient fact that that humans are dumping billions of tonnes of fossil carbon-based CO2 into the atmosphere and active carbon cycle, and destroying thousands of hectares of tropical rain forest each and every year.

Overall, this is great news–most people understand that climate change is a real threat that something must be done about.  Now to organize them…

The surveys for the report were conducted last September and October – I think a lot has happened to drive public opinion since then.

I never took this kind of thing seriously until I heard about all of the weather drastically changing all over the world. It’s pretty scary!