Americans’ actions to limit and prepare for global warming

Aug 3, 2021 | All Categories, Climate Notes

August 3rd, 2021

Our report on Americans’ Actions to Limit and Prepare for Global Warming finds that many Americans have yet to take household or political actions to limit global warming or prepare for climate impacts. A few highlights:

Household Actions to Limit Global Warming

Some Americans have deliberately bought energy-efficient products, including kitchen appliances (52%), home water heaters (39%), air conditioners (38%), or a fuel-efficient car (37%). Fewer, however, have purchased an energy-efficient home furnace (28%), services from businesses that are explicitly eco-friendly (18%), or electricity generated from renewable sources (12%).

Household Actions to Prepare for Global Warming

Global warming is linked to the increased likelihood and severity of many natural disasters, including floods, fires, hurricanes, and extreme weather. Most Americans (83%) have thought at least a little about preparing for a natural disaster, but fewer have given this a “great deal of thought” (12%). Likewise, relatively few have an emergency supply kit in their home (40%) or a disaster emergency plan that all members of their family know about (28%). In this summer of record-setting extreme events, it remains critical to encourage families to prepare to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Political Actions to Limit Global Warming

About half of Americans (52%) say they would sign a petition about global warming. Three in ten or more say they would donate money (33%) or volunteer time (31%) to an organization working on global warming. One in four or more say they would write or phone government officials (28%), or meet with an elected official or their staff (25%), about global warming. Finally, about one in four (26%) would support an organization engaging in non-violent civil disobedience against corporate or government activities that make global warming worse, and 14% would personally engage in such non-violent civil disobedience.

But relatively few Americans say they have actually engaged in political action to reduce global warming in the last year, including signing a petition (15%), donating money to an organization working on the issue (13%), or volunteering for such an organization (6%). This indicates that there is considerable potential to grow the climate movement.

The report includes many more important results, including Americans’ collective and political actions to limit and prepare for global warming in their own communities.

On behalf of the co-authors Jennifer Carman, Karine Lacroix, Edward Maibach, Seth Rosenthal, John Kotcher, Liz Neyens, Xinran Wang, Jennifer Marlon, and Matthew Goldberg, thank you for your interest and support of our work!