Americans’ Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes in April 2013

Report Summary


  • Nearly two in three Americans (63%) believe global warming is happening. Relatively few – only 16 percent – believe it is not. However, since Fall 2012, the percentage of Americans who believe global warming is happening has dropped 7 points to 63%, likely influenced by the relatively cold winter of 2012-13 in the United States and an unusually cold March just before the survey was conducted.
  • Those who believe global warming is happening are more certain of their convictions than those who do not. Of the 63% of Americans who believe global warming is happening, most say they are “very” (33%) or “extremely sure” (27%). By contrast, of the unconvinced, fewer are very (28%) or extremely sure of their view (18%).
  • About half of Americans (49%) believe global warming – if it is happening – is caused mostly by human activities, a decrease of 5 points since Fall 2012, but similar to levels stretching back several years.
  • More Americans believe that “most scientists think global warming is happening than believe there is widespread disagreement among scientists (42% versus 33%, respectively).
  • About half of Americans (51%) say they are “somewhat” or “very worried” about global warming, a 7 percentage-point decline in worry since Fall 2012.
  • At least four out of ten Americans say global warming will harm people in their community (45%), their family (44%), or themselves (42%).
  • Global warming is also perceived as a threat to people in developing countries (55%, down 9 points since September 2012, but similar to March 2012), in other modern industrialized countries (53%, down 4 points since September, but up 4 points since March 2012), and in the United States (52%, down 5 points since September, but up 6 points since March 2012).