Climate Change Polling Data
The Sanders Institute used Gallup Polling Data to delve into what the American Public thinks about global warming and climate change.
When asked about whether they are worried about climate change, a majority of Americans (64%) say they are either worried a great deal or a fair amount. A little more than a third of Americans (36%) say they are only a little or not at all worried about climate change.
However, the American public is not confident about their knowledge of climate change and global warming. Only a quarter (24%) of Americans say they understand global warming very well. Instead, just over half of Americans (55%) say they understand it "fairly well."
This translates to a significant number of Americans who are unsure if global warming is occurring. While a solid majority (65%) of Americans believe that global warming is occurring, a quarter of Americas are unsure.
This uncertainty is in stark contrast to the consensus in the scientific community that climate change and global warming are not only occurring but that human activity is the major cause of climate change and global warming.
While just under two thirds of Americans agree with scientists that global warming is caused by human activity, three in ten (31%) of Americans believe that it is due to natural causes. This is a 32% difference in the percentage of scientists who believe that global warming is caused by human activity and the American public.
In the last 5 years, however, the number of individuals who believe that global warming has already begun has increased from just under half (49%) to almost six-in-ten (59%) Americans. This is close to highest recorded in 2008 when 61% of Americans believed that global warming had already begun.
While a majority (59%) of Americans believe that global warming is happening, around that same percentage (57%) believe that global warming will not pose a serious threat to their way of life.
However, the percentage of Americans who do not think that global warming will pose a threat to their way of live has been falling gradually since 1997 when almost seven-in-ten Americans did not think it would pose a serious threat.
Ultimately, while it is a positive thing that so many Americans believe that global warming is already happening and are worried about it, there is still a disconnect between the American people and scientists on the issue. There is room to increase familiarity with and knowledge of global warming and climate change. There is also a need to help Americans understand what effect climate change and global warming will have on their day to day activities and standard of life.