New Survey Measures America’s Latest Views on Climate Change
Most Americans agree that they’re concerned about the effects of climate change, but views fluctuate about who should do what and how much, according to the latest survey by the Pew Research Center. For the data, Pew surveyed almost 11,000 people across the country and distilled their views into eight graphs. Here are the highlights.
69% support U.S. becoming carbon neutral by 2050
A majority of Americans say they favor the U.S. taking steps to become carbon neutral by 2050, a goal set by President Biden during his first year in office. His plan for carbon neutrality — defined as releasing less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than is removed — involves prioritizing renewable energy sources.
67% reluctant to phase out fossil fuels
The majority of adults are hesitant to rely exclusively on renewable energy sources. Instead, they would rather continue to use fossil fuels and slowly replace them with renewables. However, as Pew points out, the data suggest that a growing number of young adults — ages 18 to 29 — would rather phase out fossil fuels completely.
66% support incentivizing wind and solar
Two-thirds of Americans think the government should encourage the production of wind and solar power through incentivization, but support begins to wane when it comes to other green ideas. Forty-three percent said they support the government offering incentives for electric cars, and 41% were in favor of incentives for nuclear power. On the flip side, views split almost evenly on oil and gas drilling, and more people think the government should discourage coal mining than encourage it.
67% want big business to do more
Two-thirds of Americans think that corporate America is doing too little to reduce the effects of climate change, 21% think it’s doing the right amount, and 10% think it’s doing too much. And in a separate question, 58% of respondents said they think the federal government is doing too little as well. Overall, most people think everyone could be doing more.
55 percentage point difference
According to Pew’s research, there’s a greater consensus among people in other wealthy nations that climate change is a concern, but in the U.S., views are divided among party lines and the differences have grown. In a little more than a decade, the number of Democrats who view the effects of climate change as a concern has grown by 17 percentage points while the number of Republicans who say it’s a concern has fluctuated from as low as 22% to as high as 30%. In Pew’s recent survey, 23% of Republicans said it was a concern.
37% say climate change is a top priority
Respondents were given 21 issues to prioritize, ranging from climate change to the coronavirus outbreak to strengthening the economy, and only 37% of adults prioritized climate change. Notably, priorities changed along party lines, with fifty-nine percent of Democrats citing climate change as a top priority, while Republicans ranked it their penultimate issue.
61% believe climate change impacts their locality
Seventy percent of Americans living in the Pacific region and 61% of Americans everywhere else say climate change affects where they live. But views split significantly between Republicans (36%) and Democrats (84%).
75% support U.S. participation in international efforts
Three-quarters of Americans say the U.S. should participate in global efforts to reduce the effects of climate change. However, what exactly participation looks like is up for debate. Fifty-nine percent say the U.S. is not responsible for providing financial help to developing countries for building renewable energy sources.