Knowledge of Climate Change Across Global Warming’s Six Americas

Report Summary

This report draws from a national study conducted in 2010 on what Americans understand about how the climate system works, and the causes, impacts, and potential solutions to global warming. This report then examines climate literacy across Global Warming’s Six Americas.

Overall, knowledge about climate change varies widely across the Six Americas – 49 percent of the Alarmed received a passing grade (A, B, or C), compared to 33 percent of the Concerned, 16 percent of the Cautious, 17 percent of the Doubtful, 4 percent of the Dismissive, and 5 percent of the Disengaged. In general, the Alarmed and the Concerned better understand how the climate system works and the causes, consequences, and solutions to climate change than the Disengaged, the Doubtful and the Dismissive.

These and other results within the report demonstrate that most Americans both need and desire more information about climate change. While information alone is not sufficient to engage the public in the issue, it is often a necessary precursor of effective action.