Aug 4, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Americans' climate action disconnect

Graph showing the actions Americans say they would do on global warming.
Yale Program on Climate Change Communication/George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Despite a widespread recognition among a majority of Americans that climate change is a problem, and a willingness to take actions to combat it, there’s a large gulf between what people say they would be willing to do and what they are actually doing.

Why it matters: This finding, from a new polling analysis conducted by climate opinion researchers at Yale University and George Mason, suggests there's considerable room for expanding the climate movement beyond current activists.

Details: For example, about half of Americans said they would sign a petition about global warming, but only 15% said they have done so at least once in the past year.

  • In addition, about 33% said they would donate money to an organization working on global warming, while only 13% said they have done so in the past year.
  • About 30% of Americans say they are "definitely" or "probably" willing to join a campaign to get elected officials to act to reduce global warming, yet only 1% of Americans say they are currently participating in such an effort.

Editor's note: The poll has an average margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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