Michele Wick Ph.D.

Anthropocene Mind

Earth Day 2018

More Americans Believe that Global Warming is Real

Posted Apr 22, 2018

Source: Meric-tuna/Unsplash

Come gather round people wherever you roam and admit that the waters around you have grown…   Bob Dylan

 Many Americans have changed their minds about global warming.  Anthony Leiserowitz, Director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, and his colleagues have been tracking American opinion on the topic since 2008.  Their new study, Climate Change in the American Mind: March 2018, reveals that more Americans are taking global warming and its effects seriously.

In this survey of 1,278 Americans, 70% believed that global warming is real compared to 63% three years ago. More people believed that we are now in harms way and that the danger is a result of human actions. Greater numbers also admitted that global warming is affecting weather patterns and, in turn, their daily activities and property. 

One in four Americans wanted to reduce global warming to make life better for their children and grandchildren. In fact, in another survey, 78% of the respondents, including Republicans and Democrats, across all states and counties, wanted schools to teach children about the causes and consequences of global warming, as well as solutions to this complicated problem.

Despite this progress, there is still work to be done.  Only one in seven of those who responded to the survey by Leiserowitz and his colleagues understood that scientists are nearly unanimous in their opinion that global warming is caused by the vigor of human activity. Likewise, global warming has yet to top the list of social conversation. Most of the respondents rarely or never discussed it.  Why?  Global warming seldom crossed their minds. When it did, it was hard to talk about or the issue seemed too political for comfort.  

So on this Earth Day 2018, more Americans have admitted that the earth is getting too hot and we have ourselves to blame. Now we need to translate the power of this belief into action.    


Leiserowitz, A., Maibach, E., Roser-Renouf, C., Rosenthal, S., Cutler, M., & Kotcher, J. (2017). Climate change in the American mind: March 2018. Yale University and George Mason University. New Haven, CT: Yale Program on Climate Change Communication

Cheskis, A., Marlon, A., Wang, X., Leiserowitz, A. (2018). Americans Support Teaching Children about Global Warming. Yale University. New Haven, CT: Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

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