Survey Reveals: Overwhelming Support Among Americans for Combatting Climate Change

People who have experienced extreme weather are especially likely to say climate change needs to be addressed right away.

Survey Reveals: Overwhelming Support Among Americans for Combatting Climate Change
21 Apr 2024, 04:22 PM
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Climate Change Urgency

Record heat, hurricanes, wildfires all have been making news in recent years. And while not everyone agrees events like these are the direct result of climate change, they do.

Views on climate change have long been associated with partisanship, and they still are, but age is a factor, too. Younger Americans, including younger Republicans, are even more likely to say the U.S. needs to take steps to at least try to slow it. 

There's a sense of urgency from many in the public, too. A large majority think it needs to be addressed at least in the next few years, including half who think it needs to be addressed right now.

There's the sense that we should address climate change, and there's also some belief that we can

That extends down to the personal level, too. Most Americans believe humans can do something to at least slow the effects of climate change, and those who think so feel they personally have a responsibility to do something about it.

Extreme weather and climate change

And even if people don't experience the extreme weather themselves, such events can spark concern. When people hear about the earth experiencing the warmest temperatures on record, more than half say it makes them more concerned about climate change. Those who don't see climate change as a factor in extreme weather are less persuaded by this, including some who don't believe that the earth's temperature is rising. 

Younger people and the political divides on climate change

Majorities across all age groups favor the U.S. taking steps to address climate change, but it's people under age 45 — many who say they were taught about climate change in school — who are especially likely to be in support of the country taking action.

There has been a longstanding divide in political circles when it comes to addressing climate change, with Democrats showing more concern compared to Republicans. This divide still exists today, with Democrats being more than twice as likely as Republicans to believe that immediate action is needed to address climate change. Democrats overwhelmingly support initiatives to reduce climate change, while Republicans are split on the issue.

Are there divisions within the GOP on climate change?

Within the Republican Party, divisions are apparent based on age and ideology. Younger Republicans, particularly those under the age of 45, are more supportive of the U.S. taking action to combat climate change, while older Republicans are less inclined to do so.

Additionally, moderate Republicans tend to view climate change as a more urgent issue compared to their more conservative counterparts.

This survey by CBS News/YouGov was conducted with a nationally representative sample of 2,230 U.S. adult residents who were interviewed between April 16-19, 2024. The sample was weighted based on gender, age, race, education, and past voting patterns according to the U.S. Census American Community Survey and Current Population Survey. The margin of error is ±2.7 points.