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Despite partisan differences, voters widely agree that extreme weather is getting worse in the U.S. 65% of voters recognize that the impact of extreme weather events is getting worse in the U.S. While Democrats (74%) are more likely to recognize this than Republicans (56%), majorities from both parties can agree that extreme weather is getting worse for the country as a whole. A lower but still substantial percentage say that extreme weather is getting worse in their own local area. Around two in five (41%) say that the impact of extreme weather is getting worse in the community where they live, including half of Democrats (51%) but only about one-third of Republicans (32%).

Poll: Amidst Record-Breaking Heat Dome, 4 in 5 Voters Want FEMA to Respond to Extreme Heat Disasters

Catherine Fraser, Margo Kenyon, and Grace Adcox. Data for Progress
Research & Articles

Heat continues to rank as Americans’ top extreme weather concern, and voters overwhelmingly support measures to help Americans cope with it – including expanded disaster relief funding, investments in cooling infrastructure, and new requirements for landlords. 80% of voters support FEMA adding extreme heat and wildfire smoke to the list of disasters to which they respond and allocate disaster relief funding. 80% of voters support their state or municipality investing in cool roofs and cool pavements. 79% of voters support requiring landlords to provide renters with air conditioning or indoor cooling in areas that experience extreme heat events. 79% of voters support programs that specifically invest in cooling infrastructure for marginalized communities.

Research & Articles

This June 25 briefing features recent research on multiple climate politics topics. Rural voters support clean energy but are skeptical about moving away from fossil fuels. Climate’s effects on weather and on Americans’ wallets outperform other climate messages. All topics covered include renewable energy siting (courtesy of NRDC); rural clean energy attitudes (courtesy of the Rural Climate Partnership); new and different techniques to effectively communicate about climate change (courtesy of the Climate Action Campaign); and Americans' prioritization of different environmental issues and the ways that environmental priorities differ across audiences (courtesy of the Partnership Project Innovation Hub).

Environmental Polling Roundup - June 21st, 2024

David Gold, Environmental Polling Consortium
Research & Articles

This post includes climate and environment headlines, data points, and key takeaways from recent public polls - including a major new international climate survey by the United Nations, new research on Americans’ beliefs about climate change and extreme weather, and new battleground polling about climate change and clean energy in the presidential race.

Small Screen, Big Impact: How Madam Secretary Boosted Support for Climate Policy and Climate Justice

Dr. Anirudh Tiwathia, Dr. Erik Thulin, Dr. Stylianos Syropoulos, Ellis Watamanuk. Rare
Research & Articles

The CBS political drama Madam Secretary increased support for governmental action on climate change and boosted several hard-to-move attitudes on climate justice. This research also found that many of the positive shifts in audience attitudes persisted even two weeks after viewing the episode – providing empirical evidence that viewing climate-forward content can provide stable shifts in climate attitudes in the short-to-mid term. Madam Secretary proves that good storytelling and meaningful issues can blend together to create compelling, thought-provoking drama with real-world impact for audiences at home. In the episode, a “super typhoon” threatens to destroy the coral island nation of Nauru. U.S. Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord and her team must figure out how to evacuate and permanently relocate the entire island’s population. For participants who watched the climate episode, the research found a substantial increase in general climate concern including (i) increased worry about climate change and (ii) increased certainty that climate change “poses a significant threat to society.”

Voters recognize methane as a pollutant and support policies to address methane pollution, but most don’t associate it with the oil and gas industry. Most voters (68%) say that they’ve heard little or nothing about methane gas, but the majority (64%) also rate it as at least a “minor” problem for the climate – including 38% who call methane gas a “major problem” for the climate. When asked to select two phrases that they most associate with methane gas, voters are much more likely to connect it with “cows and other livestock” (44%) and with “landfills” (33%) than with “fossil fuels” (18%) or “oil and gas extraction” (16%). Further demonstrating how voters are at least vaguely aware of methane pollution, around three in ten associate methane gas with the terms “air pollution” (31%) and “greenhouse gas” (29%). After reading that agriculture, energy, and waste are the economic sectors that contribute most to U.S. methane emissions, large majorities support government action to reduce methane emissions from each of these sectors: 81% support government action to reduce methane emissions from waste (landfills and wastewater facilities); 75% support government action to reduce methane emissions from energy (oil and gas); 67% support government action to reduce methane emissions from agriculture (cows and other livestock).

This "biggest ever” survey on climate change finds that 80% of people across the globe want their governments to take stronger action on climate change; while most Americans support stronger climate action and a transition to clean energy, U.S. support lags behind comparable nations. 86% of people surveyed across 77 countries, including 80% in the United States, say that countries should work together on climate change even if they disagree on other issues. 66% of Americans want the United States to strengthen its commitment to address climate change. 57% of Americans say that the United States should provide more protection for people at risk of extreme weather impacts. 54% of Americans say that the United States should “quickly” transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy.

Communicating the links between climate change and heat waves with the Climate Shift Index

Laura Thomas-Walters et al., Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. Weather, Climate, and Society.
Research & Articles

Extreme weather, including heat waves, poses a significant threat to ecosystems and human health. As global temperatures continue to rise, the frequency and severity of heat waves will increase. Because of this, communicating heat-related risks to the public is increasingly important. One commonly-used communication tool is the Climate Shift Index (CSI), which establishes how much more likely an extreme weather event, such as a heat wave, has been made by climate change.

Environmental Polling Roundup - June 14th, 2024

David Gold, Environmental Polling Consortium
Research & Articles

This post includes climate and environment headlines, data points, and key takeaways from recent public polls - including a new wave of Yale and George Mason’s long-running “Climate Change in the American Mind” survey, new battleground polling on climate change and clean energy in the presidential race, and new polling on sustainable aquaculture.

Research finds that Americans are more confident blaming climate change for extreme heat and wildfires than for other types of extreme weather such as flooding, tornadoes, and hurricanes. The recent study found that politics and personal experience played significant roles in people’s responses: Self-identified Republicans were less likely than Democrats to attribute extreme weather events to climate change, though Republicans who had personally experienced negative impacts from extreme weather events were more likely to link them to climate change than those who hadn’t. Looking at extreme weather events across the board, 83% of survey respondents said there is some link between these events and anthropogenic, or human-caused, climate change. About 17% thought climate change had nothing to do with extreme weather. More than 47% of people were “very” or “extremely confident” in linking increased wildfires to climate change, and roughly 42% of people were very or extremely confident linking extreme heat to climate change.