What Americans Agree About on Climate Change

There are obvious facts about climate change and things we don’t know exactly yet.  At the same time, Americans have different information sources and different priorities in their lives.  Combine all these and we end up with different perspectives on climate change. As the impacts become evermore undeniable and unignorable, we have an uncertain future for all of us.  So what do Americans think about climate change now?

In a time of harsh political divisions, new research reveals that the Americans can and do find common ground when it comes to climate chanage and environmental issues.   The polling, by the non-profit ecoAmerica, reveals strong  consensus across party lines about rights to clean energy, government protection against extreme weather, and people’s  ability and responsibility to address climate change.  The America’s Climate Metrics Survey suggests that the words “climate change” provoke division, but not climate change itself. 

The first striking finding of the report is that 89% of Americans agree that clean air and water are critical rights for all people. These findings are consistent across political affiliations, with 94% of Democrats, 88% of Independents, and 86% of Republicans all in agreement. Furthermore, a resounding 94% of Democrats, 84% of Independents, and 80% of Republicans say that everyone has a right to clean energy that doesn’t pollute our natural environment. Protecting against climate pollution equates to ensuring that Americans have  clean air, water, and energyt.

Americans also believe that it is our moral responsibility to create a safe and healthy climate for themselves and future generations. A remarkable 85% of Americans including 75% of Republicans, 84% of Independents, and  94% of Democrats  share this belief. This sends a powerful message that addressing climate change itself is a responsibility that goes beyond political affiliations.  Americans are broadly concerned about their and our climate’s future.

Almost all Americans have been touched by severe weather at this point, and this new poll also reveals that three-quarters of Americans (75%) agree that the government needs to protect people from the impacts.  Government action is embraced across the spectrum by Republicans (58%), Independents (74%), and by 90% of Democrats.

Americans believe in their ability to make a difference on climate change. Regardless of their political party, three quarters  of Americans feel that they can personally contribute to solutions. 85% of Democrats and 63% of Republicans say, “I can help reduce the pollution that causes climate change”. This shared sense of agency reflects a growing awareness among Americans  that their actions, regardless of political affiliations, can make a significant impact on climate solutions.

Overall, the  America’s Climate Metrics Survey reports that 72% of Americans report being personally concerned about climate change, yet only 56% believe that others around them share that concern. This imbalance reflects the polarization of the term – many Americans don’t realize how much others around them are also concerned.

Even in the age of climate change, where the spectrum of concern ranges from deniers to doomsayers, ecoAmerica’s  research suggests that if you talk about what you personally see and feel about climate change, you’ll find others to be more receptive than you might think.   It serve sas a reminder that on matters as important as clean air, water, and climate responsibility, Americans can find common ground and come together to protect future generations.

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