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Most Americans understand Climate Change is happening but aren’t talking about it.
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Most Americans understand Climate Change is happening but aren’t talking about it.

A new study finds that most Americans understands that climate change is human-caused and think that individual choices make a difference.

When it comes to climate, Americans mostly are on the same page – even if they’re quiet.

The majority of Americans (74%) understand that climate change is happening but aren’t talking about it, according to a new study by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication conducted in April 2023. Most Americans (61%) understand that climate change is mostly human-caused (58%) and that most scientists think global warming is happening. However, only 1 in 5 Americans understand how strong the consensus is among scientists (over 90% of scientists believe it’s happening.)

Approximately half of Americans (48%) think that people in the US are being harmed by climate change “right now,” the majority of people believe that global warming will affect future generations of people (71%) and animal species (70%). 

We aren’t talking about climate change

Even though Americans understand climate change is happening, most aren’t discussing it. 66% say they “rarely” or “never” discuss global warming with family and friends, while 34% say they do “occasionally” or often. With 65% of Americans saying that global warming is “extremely,” “very,” or “somewhat” important to them personally, there’s a disconnect between concern and talking about it.

About half of Americans (52%) say they hear about global warming in the media about one time a month or more, and only 23% say they hear friends or family talk about global warming once a month or more frequently. 

This gap might be because social norms can influence behavior. For example, only 3% of Americans think that it’s “extremely’ important to friends and family that they take action to reduce global warming. (13% said it’s “very” or “moderately (25%) important.)

Even though we’re not talking about it, about three in ten Americans (28%) look for climate solutions several times a year or more. Six in ten (61%) look for solutions once a year or less.

About one in ten Americans (11%) have considered moving to avoid the impacts of global warming. Only 38% think their friends or family make a great effort to reduce global warming.

So what can you do? 

Talking about climate change is the “most important” thing you can do about it, according to climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe. 

So grab a coffee (or bourbon), text a friend to hang out, and start discussing climate today.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash


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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher
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