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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Politicians, corporations, the media and activists are talking about climate change more than ever — but most Americans are not.

Be smart: If you’re reading this on social media, you’re probably the exception, not the rule. Just 9% of Americans talk about climate change often, surveys by Yale and George Mason University indicate.

Why it matters: What people talk about is what ultimately rises as a priority among the public, says Anthony Leiserowitz, senior research scientist and director of Yale's Program on Climate Change Communication.

Expand chart
Data: Climate Change in the American Mind survey, 2008 to 2019; Note: Each survey is of approximately 1,000 U.S. adults, with an average margin of error of ±3 percentage points; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

By the numbers: More than half — 59% — of Americans talk about climate change with their family or friends "rarely" or "never," according to the surveys. That figure has more or less remained unchanged for a dozen years. As of late last year, it’s still at 59%.

  • About 40% of people say they talk about climate change “often” or “occasionally,” a figure that also remained mostly the same over the last 12 years.
  • The share of people talking about climate change “often” has almost doubled, though it’s still small: from 5% to 9%.
  • These numbers remain small despite an increase in the share of people who say they hear about global warming in the media: 19% in March 2015, to 35% in November 2019.
  • For the record: The data on this topic has an average margin of error +/- 3 percentage points and each survey had around 1,000 participants.

Driving the news: The volume of climate change coverage on nightly and Sunday broadcast news shows increased 68% from 2018 to 2019, according to a report out Thursday by the liberal nonprofit Media Matters.

  • But the absolute numbers are tiny: Climate change comprised just 0.7% of overall broadcast news coverage last year, the report found.
  • Most Americans consume news on TV, so the deluge of online media many see — including those of you who found this article via social media — is not what most Americans are getting.
“The climate community lives inside a green bubble, inside a green bubble, inside a green bubble. We see news articles about climate change every day. But that’s not the experience of most people, most of the time.”
— Anthony Leiserowitz

Go deeper: Climate change is a ratings killer

Go deeper

Journalism enters dangerous new era

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The Capitol attack on Jan. 6 resulted in at least nine physical assaults against journalists and at least five arrests, per the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker's top editor.

Why it matters: President Trump's harsh rhetoric towards the press has empowered leaders abroad and locally in the U.S. to continue to attack press that they don't like.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The beginning of the beginning for Biden's climate push

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Joe Biden's inauguration and the days right after will bring a rat-tat-tat burst of climate policy moves, but keep this in mind amid the splashy pledges: pushing through most of his agenda will be a long, uncertain slog.

Why it matters: Biden's climate plan is far more expansive than anything contemplated under President Obama. But for all the immediate pledges, it will take years to see how far Biden gets.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Biden's inflation danger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President-elect Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal has economists and bullish market analysts revising their U.S. growth expectations higher, predicting a reflation of the economy in 2021 and possibly more booming returns for risk assets.

Yes, but: Others are warning that what's expected to be reflation could actually show up as inflation, a much less welcome phenomenon.