Cheer up climate communicators; America’s views on climate change are better than you think

The George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication (4C) has a new report based on their monitoring of the attitudes of American’s about climate change: America’s Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes, March 2012.

Highlights of the survey (with “expert” commentary)

• Since November 2011, public belief that global warming is happening increased by 3 points, to 66 percent. However, belief that it is caused mostly by human activities decreased four points, to 46 percent.

OK, so we start out with a pretty grim statistic. Less than half of all American adults don’t believe something that is known to science beyond a reasonable doubt. But on the other hand, at least two thirds believe the planet is warming. That is something we can build on!

• Americans continue to think global warming will harm plant and animal species (64%), future generations of people (65%), and people in developing countries (52%) more than people in the United States (46%), people in their community (34%), their family (33%), or themselves personally (29%).

This seems reasonable to me.

• 42 percent of Americans think global warming is harming people in the United States now (30%) or will within the next 10 years (12%). By contrast, 45 percent say global warming won’t start to harm people in the United States for 50 years (14%), 100 years (15%), or ever (16%).


• 54 percent of Americans worry about global warming, while 61 percent say the issue is personally important to them, both essentially unchanged since November.

• Since November, however, there has been a 6 point decrease (to 35%) in the proportion of Americans who believe that most scientists think global warming is happening, with a 2 point increase (to 41%) in those who believe there is a lot of disagreement among scientists.

You can thank the Lame Stream Media and climate change misinformers for this.

• A large majority of Americans (70%) say they need “a lot” (19%), “some” (28%), or “a little” (23%) more information before they make up their mind about global warming.

Here is our call to arms: A lot of Americans want more information about climate change!

• A large majority (80%) say they have not changed their opinions about global warming in the past year or two, but 9 percent say they have, while 11 percent say they don’t know.

I love that 1 in 10 Americans don’t know if their opinions have changed:)

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