Americans’ Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes in November 2011

Report Summary

Highlights and Changes Since May 2011:

  • Public understanding that global warming is happening remained essentially unchanged at 63 percent, while belief that it is caused mostly by human activities increased three points since May 2011, to 50 percent.
  • A majority of Americans (57%) now disagree with the statement, “With the economy in such bad shape, the US can’t afford to reduce global warming” – an 8 point increase in disagreement since May 2011.
  • 65 percent said that global warming is affecting weather in the United States.
  • Majorities said that global warming made the record high temperatures in the US, the drought in Texas and Oklahoma, the Mississippi River floods, the record snowfalls in the US, and Hurricane Irene worse.
  • Only 14 percent of Americans have ever heard of “the United Nations’ panel of climate experts, the “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).”
  • Just over half (54%) say that they are very (9%) or somewhat worried (45%) about the U.S. running out of natural resources.

Americans’ Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes in November 2011 reports results from a national survey of Americans’ global warming beliefs and attitudes. The survey was fielded from October 20 to November 16, 2011 with 1,000 adults, using the online research panel of Knowledge Networks. The report includes measures of public global warming beliefs, risk perceptions, personal importance, information needs, trust in different information sources, and how these have changed since May 2011, June 2010, January 2010, and November 2008. It also includes new measures on public attributions of extreme weather events to climate change and perceptions of “peak resources.”