United States Survey

On April 17, 2017, the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication published an additional study of data gathered from registered voters in the time leading up to the 2016 federal election showing that 69% of registered voters believed the U.S. should participate in the Paris Agreement.

The Yale Program on Climate Change Communication recently published a survey of adults’ perceptions of climate change across the United States from 2008-2016, based on statistical models drawn from survey data of over 18,000 respondents over the age of 25 in the United States, combined with Census data from the same time period. Full access to the data is provided here: http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/visualizations-data/ycom-us-2016/. This interactive platform provides a visual depiction of the geographically-varied data, and can be used to estimate public perceptions of global warming and related issues at the county, state, and national level, as well as by congressional district.

The most significant finding of this survey is that, despite the efforts of very conservative politicians to convince the population that global warming is a hoax, 70% of adult Americans believe that global warming is happening, compared to only 12% of adult Americans who do not believe that global warming is happening.

While these numbers are reflective of positive trends in American perceptions of climate change, more than one in ten Americans does not believe in global warming, a larger number than would be comforting to proponents of international action on climate change.

The location with the largest percentage of respondents who believe that global warming is happening is Washington, D.C., and the highest percentages by county tend to be coastal counties, likely those that face the greatest threat from sea level rise. Lower percentages tend to be found in inland counties that tend to vote Republican, although the study points out that political party affiliation is not necessarily correlated with increased or decreased percentages of global warming believers.

Although, in a world with a global climate agreement that is entering its second year of force, it may seem that surveys investigating belief in global warming lag behind the modern pace of the world, the United States’ federal administration has indicated its intentions to act directly in opposition to climate change mitigation on the basis that global warming is a hoax. Therefore, it is more important now than ever to demonstrate that more than half of Americans do, in fact, believe that global warming is happening.

On April 17, 2017, the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication published an additional study of data gathered from registered voters in the time leading up to the 2016 federal election showing that 69% of registered voters believed the U.S. should participate in the Paris Agreement. This survey and its results can be found here: http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/5-1-voters-say-u-s-participate-paris-climate-agreement/. Also shown by this survey is that almost half of Trump voters believed the U.S. should participate in the Paris Agreement (47% ), compared to 27% who believed the U.S. should not. This finding is significant, because it shows that, contrary to statements by President Trump that most of his voters support pulling out of the agreement, a majority of Americans support the U.S.’ participation in it.

Learn More

Yale Program on Climate Change Communication website:
http://climatecommunication.yale.edu
New York Times, “How Americans Think About Climate Change, in Six Maps:”
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/03/21/climate/how-americans-think-about-climate-change-in-six-maps.html?mcubz=0