Even as the Donald Trump Administration in the US tries to eliminate government programmes and policies to address climate change, a recent national survey by the George Mason University’s Centre for Climate Change Communication finds that the number of Americans “very worried” about global warming has reached a record high (22%) since first measured in 2008. A majority of Americans (63%) say they are “very” or “somewhat” worried about the issue.
Likewise, Americans increasingly view global warming as a threat. Since Spring 2015, more Americans think it will harm them personally (50%, +14 points), their own family (54%, +13 points), people in the U.S. (67%, +18 points), people in developing countries (71%, +18 points), and future generations (75%, +12 points).
Other key findings include:
- Seven in 10 Americans (71%) think global warming is happening, an increase of 8 percentage points since March 2015. By contrast, only about one in eight Americans (13%) think global warming is not happening. Americans who think global warming is happening outnumber those who think it is not by more than five to one.
- Nearly two in three Americans (64%) think global warming is affecting weather in the United States, and one in three think weather is being affected “a lot” (33%), an increase of 8 percentage points since May 2017.
- A majority of Americans think global warming made several extreme events in 2017 worse, including the heat waves in California (55%) and Arizona (51%), hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria (54%), and wildfires in the western US (52%).
- More than four in 10 Americans (44%) say they have personally experienced the effects of global warming, an increase of 13 percentage points since March 2015.
- Four in 10 Americans (42%) think people in the United States are being harmed by global warming “right now”, an increase of 10 percentage points since March 2015.
The report also finds more Americans saying global warming is personally important to them and that they discuss the issue more often with their friends and families.