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Climate Change in the Minds of U.S. News Audiences

Global Warming's Six Americas

Our prior research has identified “Global Warming’s Six Americas”—six distinct segments of the American public. The Alarmed are convinced global warming is happening, human-caused, an urgent threat, and they strongly support climate policies. Most, however, do not know what they or others can do to solve the problem. The Concerned think human-caused global warming is happening, is a serious threat, and support climate policies. However, they believe that climate impacts are still distant in time and space, thus climate change is a lower priority issue. The Cautious haven not yet made up their minds: Is global warming happening? Is it human-caused? Is it serious? The Disengaged know little about global warming. They rarely or never hear about it in the media. The Doubtful do not think global warming is happening or believe it is just a natural cycle. They do not think much about the issue or consider it a serious risk. The Dismissive believe global warming is not happening, human-caused, or a threat, and most endorse conspiracy theories (e.g., “global warming is a hoax”). As of April 2020, about half of Americans are either Alarmed or Concerned. Far fewer are Doubtful or Dismissive.