Story at a glance

  • Fifty-nine percent of Americans said the issue of climate change is very or extremely important to them, which is up from 49 percent who said the same in 2018.
  • The poll found American views on climate change are mostly being shaped by climate researchers and recent extreme weather events that have slammed the U.S. over the past several years.
  • Overall, 75 percent of Americans said climate change is occurring and 59 percent said the pace is increasing.

Americans have become increasingly concerned about climate change over the past few years and believe it’s accelerating, according to a new poll. 

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released Tuesday found 59 percent of Americans said the issue of climate change is very or extremely important to them, up from 49 percent who said the same in 2018. 

The poll found American views on climate change are mostly being shaped by climate researchers and recent extreme weather events that have slammed the U.S. over the past several years.  

Fifty-four percent of respondents said scientists had “a great deal” or “a lot” of influence on their views, while 51 percent said recent hurricanes, droughts, floods, heat waves or wildfires influenced their opinion on the changing climate. 


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Overall, 75 percent of Americans said climate change is occurring and 59 percent said the pace is increasing, while 35 percent said it's staying the same. Just 10 percent said they believe climate change is not happening. 

Meanwhile, 54 percent of respondents said climate change is being caused either entirely or mostly by human activities, compared to 32 percent who said equally by human activities and natural changes in the environment. 

The new poll also found 55 percent of Americans would support a bill ensuring more U.S. energy comes from renewable sources and less comes from coal and natural gas. 

The AP-NORC poll surveyed 5,468 U.S. adults between Sept. 8-24.

The poll comes as world leaders are set to meet next week at the highly anticipated United Nations climate change summit in Glasgow. Meanwhile, a new report released Monday by the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization found greenhouse gas levels hit new records last year, indicating the world is significantly off track to meet the goals outlined in the Paris climate agreement. 


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Published on Oct 26, 2021