Major sources of U.S. public opinion data related to global warming and climate change

Americans Underestimate How Many Others in the U.S. Think Global Warming is Happening.

People tend to misjudge what the beliefs and actions of others actually are – a phenomenon known as pluralistic ignorance. In our April 2019 national survey, we found that the American public underestimates how many otherAmericans think global warming is happening (i.e., they underestimate the social consensus on global warming). Americans on average estimate that only 54% of other Americans think global warming is happening, when in fact, 69% of Americans do.

Large changes in public opinion are occurring among Americans across the political spectrum. For example, the 16-point increase in the proportion of Americans who are worried about global warming is largely the result of increased worry among moderate/conservative Democrats (+19) and conservative Republicans (+18). — Anthony Leiserowitz, presenting Climate Change in the American Mind¹ on Feb. 21, 2019

Yale Program on Climate Change Communication WITH THE George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication

HIGHLIGHTS (of many):

Climate Opinion Maps 2018: “These maps show how Americans’ climate change beliefs, risk perceptions, and policy support vary at the state, congressional district, metro area, and county levels.”

Climate Change in the American Mind, a multi-year survey.

“Our prior research has categorized Americans into six groups – Global Warming’s Six Americas – based on their climate change beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. The “Alarmed” are the most worried about global warming and most supportive of aggressive action to reduce carbon pollution. In contrast, the “Dismissive” do not believe global warming is happening or human-caused and strongly oppose climate action. [A short “Six Americas” quiz is now publicly available online.]

Our latest survey in December 2018 finds that the Alarmed segment is at an all-time high (29%) – which is double that segment’s size in 2013 and an 8-point increase since March 2018. Conversely, the Dismissive (9%) and Doubtful (9%) segments have both decreased over the last five years. The percentage of Americans in these two segments has declined by 12 points since 2013.” Explore here.


  • Pew Research Center. Feb. 10, 2019: “Climate Change Still Seen as the Top Global Threat, but Cyberattacks a Rising Concern. “People around the world agree that climate change poses a severe risk to their countries, according to a 26-nation survey conducted in spring 2018. Terrorism, specifically from ISIS, and cyberattacks are also seen by many as major security threats.”

    “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report last year expressing serious concerns about the possible impacts of climate change, both in the near and distant future. Broadly speaking, people around the world agree that climate change poses a severe risk to their countries, according to a 26-nation survey conducted in the spring of 2018. In 13 of these countries, people name climate change as the top international threat.”

Wall Street Journal/NBC News


A December Wall Street Journal/NBC News national poll showed that 66% of Americans believe that action is needed to address climate change, with 45% calling for immediate action.

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, UNIV. CHICAGO

Screenshot 2019-05-25 13.34.45.png

November, 2018, Conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research With funding from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago.

Is the Public Willing to Pay to Help Fix Climate Change?

Answer: yes and no.

Excerpt: “Americans who accept that climate change is happening want the government to address it. Forty-four percent support and 29 percent oppose a policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by taxing the use of carbon-based fuels based on how much they contribute to climate change, irrespective of how the funds would be used. Twenty-five percent say they neither support nor oppose a carbon tax.

Two-thirds support a carbon tax if the proceeds were used for environmental restoration and more than half support it if the funds were used towards research and development for renewable energy programs and public transportation.

To combat climate change, 57 percent of Americans are willing to pay a $1 monthly fee; 23 percent are willing to pay a monthly fee of $40. Party identification and acceptance of climate change are the main determining factors of whether or not people are willing to pay, with Democrats being consistently more inclined to pay a fee.”