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Climate Change in the American Mind: March 2018

2. Emotional Responses to Global Warming

2.1. More than six in ten Americans are worried about global warming; one in five are “very worried.”

More than six in ten Americans (62%) say they are at least “somewhat worried” about global warming. About one in five Americans (21%) are “very worried.”



2.2. Six in ten Americans are “interested” in global warming, but fewer than half feel other emotions.

When asked how strongly they feel various emotions when they think about global warming, six in ten Americans (62%) say they feel very or moderately “interested” in it, followed by those who say they feel “disgusted” (47%), “helpless” (45%), “hopeful” (41%), “angry” (39%), “afraid” (38%), and/or “outraged” (37%) when they think about global warming.


Emotional reactions to global warming may be felt for different reasons, and signify different meanings, depending on an individual’s beliefs about global warming. For instance, someone who thinks global warming is happening may feel “disgusted” about it for different reasons than someone who thinks global warming is not happening. For that reason, we looked separately at people’s emotional reactions to global warming depending on whether they think it is happening, don’t know whether it is happening, or think it is not happening.

About eight in ten (79%) Americans who think global warming is happening say they are very or moderately “interested” in it. About half, or more, feel negative emotions, including “disgusted” (58%), “helpless” (56%), “angry” (50%), “afraid” (49%), and/or “outraged” (47%). Nearly half feel “hopeful” (48%).]