Climate Change in the American Mind: March 2018

6. How Americans Conceptualize Global Warming

6.1. Americans are most likely to think of global warming as an environmental and/or scientific issue.

Global warming is a complex challenge with many dimensions. Understanding how people conceptualize the issue is critical to formulating effective communication strategies. To better understand how Americans think about global warming, we asked respondents to indicate what kind of issue, if any, they consider it to be: environmental, scientific, economic, health, moral, religious, etc.

A large majority of Americans (74%) say global warming is an environmental issue, and about two in three (68%) say it is a scientific issue. Majorities also say global warming is an agricultural (62%), severe weather (61%), health (60%), political (58%), and/or economic (57%) issue.

Fewer consider global warming a moral (41%), social justice (29%), poverty (28%), national security (25%), and/or religious issue (13%).