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6. Political Actions to Limit Global Warming

Jan 30, 2023 | All Categories

Climate Change in the American Mind: Politics & Policy, December 2022


6.1. Relatively few registered voters have engaged in political actions to reduce global warming in the past year.

Relatively few registered voters have engaged in political actions to reduce global warming over the past 12 months, including 16% who say they have signed a petition about global warming at least “once,” and 11% who say they have donated money to an organization working on global warming at least “once.” Fewer (5%) have volunteered their time to an organization working on global warming at least “once” in the past year.

6.2. Relatively few registered voters have urged elected officials to reduce global warming. 

Eight percent of registered voters have contacted government officials to urge them to take action to reduce global warming at least one time over the past 12 months. This includes 20% of liberal Democrats and 8% of moderate/conservative Democrats, but only 1% of liberal/moderate Republicans and 1% of conservative Republicans.

6.3. Many registered voters are willing to take political actions to reduce global warming.

About half of registered voters (49%) say they would sign a petition about global warming, including majorities of liberal Democrats (84%) and moderate/conservative Democrats (66%), but fewer liberal/moderate Republicans (39%) and conservative Republicans (12%). About three in ten say they would donate money (31%) or volunteer their time (30%) to an organization working on global warming. Fewer would contact government officials about global warming (26%) or meet with an elected official or their staff (25%).

One in four registered voters (25%) would support an organization engaging in non-violent civil disobedience against corporate or government activities that make global warming worse, and 14% (including 29% of liberal Democrats) would personally engage in such non-violent civil disobedience.

6.4. Few registered voters would be willing to get arrested as part of a non-violent civil disobedience action.

Although 14% of registered voters say they would personally engage in non-violent civil disobedience against corporate or government activities that make global warming worse (see section 6.1), only 4% say they would be willing to get arrested as part of such an action (1% “definitely would,” 3% “probably would”). This includes 10% of liberal Democrats, 3% of liberal/moderate Republicans, 2% of moderate/conservative Democrats, and no conservative Republicans.

However, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 168 million registered voters in the United States. If 1% of them “definitely would” get arrested as part of a non-violent action against activities that make global warming worse, and an additional 3% “probably would,” it suggests that there may be a million or more registered voters willing to do so.

6.5. About one in four registered voters are participating, or willing to participate, in a campaign to convince elected officials to take action to reduce global warming – although current participation is low.

A total of about three in ten registered voters (27%) say they are either “definitely” (7%) or “probably” (19%) willing to join a campaign to convince elected officials to take action to reduce global warming or are already currently participating in such a campaign (1%; see data tables). This includes 55% of liberal Democrats (3% “currently,” 15% “definitely,” and 37% “probably”), 33% of moderate/conservative Democrats (less than 1% “currently,” 8% “definitely,” and 25% “probably”), and 16% of liberal/moderate Republicans (1% “currently,” 2% “definitely,” and 13% “probably”), but only 3% of conservative Republicans (none “currently,” 1% “definitely,” and 2% “probably”).


Citation

Leiserowitz, A., Maibach, E., Rosenthal, S., Kotcher, J., Carman, J., Lee, S., Verner, M., Ballew, M., Ansah, P., Badullovich, N., Myers, T., Goldberg, M., & Marlon, J. (2023). Climate Change in the American Mind: Politics & Policy, December 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.