Pew Research Center surveyed nearly 11,000 American adults in March, and here’s what its survey revealed about how Americans view climate change.
Being that the US is the second-largest emitter of CO2 in the world behind China, how Americans view climate change impacts the entire world. This is what Pew found.
Nearly 7 in 10 Americans (69%) want the US to take steps to reach net zero by 2050, thus adhering to the Paris Agreement. The same percentage also wants the US to prioritize developing renewable energy over fossil fuels.
Two-thirds of Americans said that big businesses and corporations aren’t doing enough to reduce the effects of climate change. Of Americans, 58% feel their state elected officials aren’t doing enough, and 55% believe that the energy industry isn’t doing enough to address climate change. Around 50% of Americans think they’re personally doing enough to help reduce the effects of climate change.
Americans’ political affiliation and whether they acknowledge climate change is a serious problem affects how they perceive climate impacts at the local level. For example, Pew reports Americans who live in the Pacific region – California, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, and Alaska – are more likely than those in other areas to say that climate change is affecting them a lot at a local level.
Democrats in the Pacific region are more likely than Democrats in other areas to say that they are seeing the effects of climate change where they live. But Republicans in the Pacific region are no more likely than Republicans in other areas to say that climate change is affecting their local community.
Previous Pew Research Center surveys show that nearly all Democrats acknowledge climate change is at least a somewhat serious problem, and a big majority acknowledge that humans have a hand in causing it. Republicans are much less likely to have these beliefs, but views vary by age and ideology.
The majority of Americans are wary of moving completely to renewable energy. Around 3 in 10 (31%) want the US to completely phase out fossil fuels. Adults between the ages of 18 to 29 are more open to the idea of phasing out fossil fuels altogether, along with a majority of young Democrats. But 67% say the US should use both fossil fuels and renewables.
More than half of Americans (54%) acknowledge climate change is a major threat to the country’s well-being. Nearly 8 in 10 Democrats (78%) acknowledge climate change is a major threat, but only 23% of Republicans acknowledge the same. Pew says that the partisan divide has grown: The share of Republicans who view climate change as a major threat is not much different from a decade ago, but Democrats’ concern has grown significantly over that period.
Read more: Renewables powered nearly 23% of US electricity as of Oct. 2022
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