While this is only my hypothesis, it seems like there is a growing awareness of the problem of climate change and the need for significant action. This may be in part because the new administration has placed a higher priority on addressing climate change across multiple areas of government. It could also be that folks are recognizing the increasingly urgent situation and starting to see effects of climate change, beyond just the bleak scientific reports of increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and details on our warming planet. However, these are my limited observations. What are the actual attitudes and beliefs about climate change across America?
Fortunately, the Yale Program on Climate Communication has been tracking American’s attitudes and beliefs about climate change since 2015. They group Americans into six distinct groups: Alarmed, Concerned, Cautious, Disengaged, Doubtful, Dismissive. You can find their complete research here: https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/global-warmings-six-americas-in-2020/
Here’s the summary of their data from April 2020:
This data demonstrates that as of April 2020, more than 25% of Americans are alarmed about climate change, but also 25% are disengaged, doubtful or dismissive. As we look to talk about climate change with others and encourage action on multiple levels, I think it’s key to understand the perception of climate change in our country so we can effectively craft those efforts.