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6. Impacts of Global Warming

Jul 20, 2022 | All Categories

Climate Change in the American Mind, April 2022


6.1. A majority of Americans think global warming is affecting weather in the United States.

Sixty-three percent of Americans think global warming is affecting weather in the United States, including a majority (56%) who think global warming is affecting U.S. weather either “a lot” (32%) or “some” (24%).

As noted above, 32% of Americans think global warming is affecting weather “a lot.” After a large increase in our September 2021 survey, the percentage has returned to about the same level as in our March 2021 survey.

6.2. Most Americans think global warming is affecting environmental problems in the United States.

Most Americans think global warming is affecting many environmental problems in the United States at least “a little.” This includes seven in ten or more who think global warming is affecting extreme heat (75%), wildfires (73%), droughts (72%), rising sea levels (72%), flooding (70%), water shortages (70%). and air pollution (70%). More than six in ten think global warming is affecting hurricanes (69%), reduced snowpack (68%), tornados (67%), agricultural pests and diseases (65%), water pollution (63%), and electricity power outages (62%).

Among these, about four in ten Americans think global warming is affecting wildfires (42%) and extreme heat (40%) in the United States “a lot.”

6.3. About two in three Americans think wildfires have increased as a result of global warming.

About two in three Americans (65%) either “strongly” (31%) or “somewhat” (34%) agree that wildfires have increased around the world as a result of global warming.

6.4. A majority of Americans think extreme weather poses a risk to their community.

A majority of Americans (56%) think extreme weather poses either a “high” (19%) or “moderate” (37%) risk to their community over the next 10 years. Fewer think extreme weather poses either a “low” risk (31%) or “no” risk (6%).

6.5. A majority of Americans are worried about harm from environmental problems in their local area.

Section 6.2 of this report outlined the degree to which Americans think global warming is already affecting numerous environmental problems. This section details how worried Americans are that each of those environmental problems will harm their local area in the future. A majority of Americans are at least “a little worried” about harm to their local area from electricity power outages (78%), water pollution (77%), air pollution (73%), extreme heat (71%), agricultural pests and diseases (70%), droughts (69%), water shortages (68%), flooding (61%), wildfires (61%), and tornados (60%). Fewer are worried about rising sea levels (48%), hurricanes (47%), and reduced snowpack (44%).


Citation

Leiserowitz, A., Maibach, E., Rosenthal, S., Kotcher, J., Carman, J., Neyens, L., Myers, T., Goldberg, M., Campbell, E., Lacroix, K., & Marlon, J. (2022). Climate Change in the American Mind, April 2022. Yale University and George Mason University. New Haven, CT: Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

Funding Source

The research was funded by the 11th Hour Project, the Energy Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation, and the Grantham Foundation.