Be the first to hear about new reports, surveys and news from Mason 4C


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Center for Climate Change Communication. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

4. Personal and Social Engagement with Global Warming

Nov 17, 2021 | All Categories

Climate Change in the American Mind, September 2021

4.1. Most Americans “rarely” or “never” discuss global warming with family and friends.

About six in ten Americans (61%) say they “rarely” or “never” discuss global warming with family and friends, while about one in four (39%) say they discuss global warming “occasionally” or “often.”

4.2. More than half of Americans hear about global warming in the media at least once a month; fewer hear people they know talking about it at least once a month.

More than half of Americans (57%) say they hear about global warming in the media once a month or more often, while one in three (33%) say they hear about global warming in the media several times a year or less often, including nine percent who say they never hear about global warming in the media.

Only about one in four Americans (24%) say they hear people they know talk about global warming once a month or more often. In contrast, about two in three (66%) say they hear people they know talk about it several times a year or less often, including 28% who say they never hear people they know talk about global warming.

4.3. About seven in ten Americans say the issue of global warming is personally important.

A majority of Americans understand that global warming will cause harm. Americans are most likely to think that About seven in ten Americans (71%) say the issue of global warming is either “extremely” (19%), “very” (24%), or “somewhat” (28%) important to them personally. About three in ten (29%) say global warming is either “not too” (15%) or “not at all” (15%) personally important.

4.4. Fewer than half of Americans perceive social norms for taking action on global warming.

Social science research has shown that two types of social norms can have a powerful influence on people’s behavior: injunctive norms (the belief that friends and family expect you to behave in a given way) and descriptive norms (the belief that friends and family are themselves behaving in that way).1

Forty-three percent of Americans perceive an injunctive norm, saying it is either “extremely” (5%), “very” (13%), or “moderately” important (25%) to their family and friends that they take action to reduce global warming. Fewer Americans (38%) perceive a descriptive norm, saying their family and friends make either “a great deal of effort” (3%), “a lot of effort” (7%), or “a moderate amount of effort” (28%) to reduce global warming.

4.5. About seven in ten Americans feel a personal sense of responsibility to help reduce global warming.

About two in three Americans (69%) agree either “strongly” (21%) or “somewhat” (48%) that they feel a personal sense of responsibility to help reduce global warming.


Citation

Leiserowitz, A., Maibach, E., Rosenthal, S., Kotcher, J., Carman, J., Neyens, L., Marlon, J., Lacroix, K., & Goldberg, M. (2021). Climate Change in the American Mind, March 2021. Yale University and George Mason University. New Haven, CT: Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

Funding Sources

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