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This post includes climate and environment headlines, data points, and key takeaways from recent public polls - including new polling on climate change as an issue priority, President Biden’s handling of climate change and environmental issues, and the establishment of a Civilian Climate Corps.
Voters continue to overwhelmingly support the creation of a Civilian Climate Corps. Voters support the establishment of a Civilian Climate Corps by a 63%-24% margin after reading a brief, one-sentence description of the proposal. After reading arguments for and against the idea, voters support President Biden establishing a Civilian Climate Corps through executive order by a 52%-37% margin.
President Biden starts the year with mixed ratings on his handling of climate change and the environment (40% approve to 43% disapprove). More Americans name climate change and the environment as the single “most important issue” to them (66%) than any other issue aside from inflation/prices (90%), health care (89%), and the economy/jobs (91%).
Based on political narratives in 2022, here are some key narrative predictions for 2023: the tension between American identity and personal identity, the ongoing erosion of trust in institutions, a lack of certainty about the future, precarity versus safety, and the type of experiences we are dreaming about in our communities and our lives. Some narratives within “American identity crisis” include “What is America?”, “Who is American?”, “The expanded self,” “Identity used to divide or unite,” “The never-ending woke wars,” and “Generational divides.” Some narratives within “Erosion of trust” include “Everything is broken,” “Ongoing attacks on media and journalism,” “The return of the moderate,” and “Taking care of us.” Other narrative categories include “Multipolar world,” “Big tech lives, big tech dies,” “Search for stability,” and “Experience and authenticity.”
Climate and the environment rose as public priorities in the second half of 2022, and now rank as the top issue area for Democrats. More Americans name climate change or the environment top-of-mind as priorities for the government in 2023 than any other issues aside from the economy, inflation, and immigration. This follows up on previous AP-NORC polling from September that showed that more than three-fifths of Americans believe the government isn’t doing enough to reduce climate change, demonstrating that the public wants further climate action above and beyond the Inflation Reduction Act. Climate and the environment regularly ranked among the very top tier of Democratic voters’ issue priorities throughout 2022, and the new AP-NORC poll finds that climate/environment is now Democrats’ clear top priority when they are prompted to name the most important issues for the government to address.
Rural Nebraskans are concerned about extreme weather and climate change but aren’t convinced about proposed climate solutions. 59% of rural Nebraskans agree that we have a responsibility to future generations to reduce the effects of climate change. 55% of rural Nebraskans are concerned about severe droughts. 52% of rural Nebraskans recognize that human activity is contributing to climate change.
90% of U.S. counties have experienced a federal climate disaster between 2011-2021, with some having as many as 12 disasters during that time. In 2021 alone, the U.S. experienced 20 separate billion-dollar climate disasters with over 688 direct or indirect fatalities. This report and map show data on county-by-county climate impacts from 2011-2021. Users can also study data from individual states.
When people speak up and work together, they can spur powerful changes. Research and history suggest that local action is more powerful than many people realize. First, much of the policy change that can affect climate change is local rather than national. Second, local wins can become contagious. Third, local action can trigger national policy, spread to other countries and ultimately trigger global agreements. Yet, while 70% of American adults describe climate change as an important concern, only 10% say they volunteered for an activity focused on addressing climate change or contacted an elected official about it in the previous year. Polls show some people see how money from wealthy industries and individuals influences politicians and don’t believe politicians listen to the public, and others are distracted by arguments that can tamp down engagement, such as campaigns that urge people to focus on individual recycling, or ask why the U.S. should do more if other countries aren’t. A description of the book on which these argument are based can be found here: https://aronclimatecrisis.net/
This post includes climate and environment headlines, data points, and key takeaways from recent public polls - including new state-level polls in Texas and Nebraska.