Be the first to hear about new surveys and studies.


Executive Summary

Drawing on a nationally representative survey (n = 1,033) conducted from October 20 – 26, 2023, this report describes Americans’Throughout this report, we use the term “Americans” to refer to adults (18+) who reside in the United States (the 50 states plus the District of Columbia). beliefs and attitudes about global warming. Among the key findings of this report:

Global Warming Beliefs

  • Americans who think global warming is happening outnumber those who think it is not happening by a ratio of nearly 5 to 1 (72% versus 15%).
  • Those who are “very” or “extremely” sure global warming is happening outnumber those who are “very” or “extremely” sure it is not happening by about 6 to 1 (49% versus 8%).
  • 58% of Americans understand that global warming is mostly human-caused. By contrast, 29% think it is caused mostly by natural changes in the environment.
  • 53% of Americans understand that most scientists think global warming is happening.

Perceived Risks and Impacts of Global Warming

  • 46% of Americans think people in the United States are being harmed by global warming “right now,” and 43% say they have personally experienced the effects of global warming.
  • Majorities of Americans think global warming will harm plant and animal species (71%), future generations of people (70%), the world’s poor (67%), people in developing countries (66%), people in the United States (59%), and people in their community (50%). Many also think their family (49%) and they themselves (45%) will be harmed.
  • 10% of Americans have considered moving to avoid the impacts of global warming.
  • 61% of Americans think global warming is affecting weather in the United States, including 33% who think weather is being affected “a lot.”
  • Majorities of Americans think global warming is affecting many environmental problems in the United States, including extreme heat (75%), droughts (71%), wildfires (70%), air pollution (66%), water shortages (66%), flooding (66%), rising sea levels (66%), hurricanes (64%), reduced snow pack (61%), tornados (61%), agricultural pests and diseases (59%), water pollution (58%), and electricity power outages (57%).
  • 52% of Americans think extreme weather poses either a “high” (16%) or “moderate” (36%) risk to their community over the next 10 years.
  • Majorities of Americans are worried their local area might be harmed by electricity power outages (74%), air pollution (73%), extreme heat (70%), water pollution (67%), droughts (63%), agricultural pests and diseases (63%), flooding (58%), water shortages (56%), tornados (56%), and wildfires (52%). Many Americans are also worried their local area might be harmed by hurricanes (39%), rising sea levels (38%), and reduced snow pack (37%).

Global Warming, Emotional Responses, and Mental Health

  • 65% of Americans say they are at least “somewhat worried” about global warming. This includes 29% who say they are “very worried.”
  • About one in ten Americans report experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression because of global warming for several or more days out of the last two weeks.

Personal and Social Engagement with Global Warming

  • 65% of Americans say they “rarely” or “never” discuss global warming with family and friends, while 35% say they do so “occasionally” or “often.”
  • 40% of Americans think it is at least “moderately” important to their family and friends that they take action to reduce global warming (an injunctive norm), and 35% say their family and friends make at least “a moderate amount of effort” to reduce global warming (a descriptive norm).
  • 51% of Americans say they hear about global warming in the media about once a month or more frequently. Fewer (20%) say they hear people they know talk about global warming once a month or more frequently.
  • Given the opportunity to talk to an expert on global warming, the questions Americans would most commonly ask are: “What can the nations of the world do to reduce global warming?” (74%); “What can the United States do to reduce global warming?” (72%); “How do you know that global warming is caused mostly by human activities, not natural changes in the environment?” (70%); and “Is there still time to reduce global warming, or is it too late?” (69%).
  • 67% of Americans say the issue of global warming is either “extremely,” “very,” or “somewhat” important to them personally, while 33% say it is either “not too” or “not at all” personally important.
  • 63% of Americans say they feel a personal sense of responsibility to help reduce global warming.

Fatalism

  • 13% of Americans agree with the statement “it’s already too late to do anything about global warming,” while many more (60%) disagree.
  • 47% of Americans agree with the statement “the actions of a single individual won’t make any difference in global warming,” while 53% disagree.