Climate Change in the Columbus, Ohioan Mind

Report Summary


  • Most people in Columbus (70%) believe global warming is happening. One in five (18%) believe it is not.
  • About half (49%) believe that if global warming is happening, it is caused mostly by human activities.
  • People in Columbus think global warming is important and are worried about it. Seven in ten (69%) say the issue of global warming is at least somewhat important to them personally. And more than half (56%) are at least somewhat worried about it.
  • Though virtually all climate scientists agree human-caused global warming is happening, many people in Columbus, like most Americans, are unaware of this fact. Fully half (49%) believe that “there is a lot of disagreement among scientists” about whether or not global warming is happening. Somewhat fewer (42%) believe most scientists agree that global warming is happening.
  • Among those who believe global warming is happening, two in three believe it is currently having a large or moderate influence on the severity of heat waves (66%) in Columbus, and half believe it is influencing droughts (51%) and flooding of rivers or lakes (50%).
  • More people in Columbus say that they have not personally experienced the effects of global warming (51%) than say they have (45%).
  • Among people in Columbus who believe global warming is happening, large majorities expect to see a myriad of negative effects from it over the next 50 years. About nine in ten anticipate more heat waves (91%), worse storms (88%), or increased allergies, asthma, infectious diseases, or other health problems (88%). At least eight in ten believe the area will experience declining numbers of fish and native wildlife (84%), increased droughts and water shortages (84%), or more power outages (81%).
  • More than half of people in Columbus say that more should be done about global warming at all levels of government—from Congress (61%) and President Obama (57%), to Ohio state legislators (57%) and Governor Kasich (56%), to local government officials (57%). However, even larger numbers of people in Columbus believe that corporations and industry (68%) or citizens themselves (66%) should be doing more to address climate change.
  • Two in three people in Columbus (65%) say the United States should reduce greenhouse gas emissions regardless of whether other countries do the same.
  • Many people in Columbus believe that individual action, and especially collective action, can be effective in addressing global warming. Among those who believe global warming is happening, most (90%) say their own actions would reduce their personal contribution to global warming at least a little. Virtually all people in Columbus who believe global warming is happening say that if the same actions were taken by most people in the U.S. (94%) or around the world (95%), it would reduce global warming a little, some, or a lot.
  • Nearly half the people in Columbus (47%) say that switching from fossil fuels to clean energy sources would increase economic growth and the number of jobs.
  • Many people in Columbus are unsure that people will rally to do what’s necessary to reduce global warming. Four in ten (42%) believe humans could reduce global warming, but that it’s unclear at this point whether we will do what is needed. Relatively few are convinced that people can reduce global warming and will do so successfully (5%).
  • About half of the people in Columbus (50%) say that, in the past 12 months, they have rewarded companies that are taking steps to reduce global warming by buying their products at least once, and 43% would like to do it more frequently in the next 12 months. Moreover, 32% have punished companies that are opposing steps to reduce global warming at least once by not buying their products during the past 12 months, and 33% would like to do this more frequently in the coming year.