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US Climate Attitudes Shift Slightly

New York, plunged into mid-day darkness by 2023 Canadian wildfire smoke. ©Aelthemplaer/Wikimedia CC BY-SA 4.0
New York, plunged into mid-day darkness by 2023 Canadian wildfire smoke. ©Aelthemplaer/Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

A recent Pew Research Center survey of Americans found that concerns about climate change, though dependent on factors such as age and political affiliation, have declined somewhat in recent years.

The percentage of respondents that stated they personally care “a great deal” about climate change dropped by 7%, from 44% in 2018 to 37% in 2023. Those who said they cared "not at all" increased by 5%, from 22% to 27%, and those who cared “some” rose slightly, 33% to 35% over the same time period, according to Pew poll data.

Concerns about future climate-related issues remain high in 2023, however.

The Pew survey of 8,842 adults, taken between September 25 and October 1, revealed that “63% expect things to get worse in their lifetime.”

A substantial percentage (43%) of US adults think climate change is already “causing a great deal or quite a bit of harm to people in the U.S.” while another 28% say it is causing “some harm.”

According to National Public Radio and UPI, Pew researcher Alec Tyson said, "The majority of Americans see some fairly severe environmental harms as likely to happen over the next 30 years. For example, 73% say they think a growing number of plant and animal species will go extinct.”

Tyson added that “61% say they think heat waves will cause large numbers of people to die in the U.S. every year and 58% think rising sea levels will force large numbers of people in the U.S. to move away from the coast."

Younger adults are more likely than their elders to expect adverse impacts locally from climate change. According to Pew, “56% of young adults ages 18 to 29 say their local community will be a worse place to live because of climate change in the next 30 years,” whereas about 30% of young adults “do not think climate change will have much of an effect on conditions in their area." 



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