Climate Insights 2020: Climate opinions unchanged by pandemic, but increasingly entrenched

August 24, 2020

Is concern about climate change a luxury? According to a new survey by researchers at Stanford University, Resources for the Future, and ReconMR, perhaps not.

The survey, which polled a representative national sample of 999 American adults from May 28 through August 16, 2020, finds that Americans believe in and care about climate change as much as ever--despite the challenges created and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the personal importance that Americans attach to climate change is at an all-time high.

The first installment in a six-part series, Climate Insights 2020: Surveying American Public Opinion on Climate Change and the Environment explores in depth how Americans think about climate change and what they want done about it. The report gives policymakers and the public a 'pulse-check' on American public opinion amid historic upheaval as numerous issues, from racial injustice to mass unemployment, compete for national attention.

"We continue to see huge majorities of Americans believing that climate change is real and a threat, and passion about the issue is at an all-time high. No doubt, this issue will weigh heavily in the minds of a substantial number of Americans when they cast their ballots in November," report co-author and Stanford University professor Jon Krosnick said. "People are more sure than they've ever been."

The topline findings:
"The COVID-19 pandemic has been a unique test for how people feel about climate change when faced with a different global crisis," said Ray Kopp, RFF Vice President for Research and Policy Engagement. "The argument that we can't do anything about climate change without crashing the economy, or that we need to just focus on the pandemic and not do anything on climate right now simply doesn't resonate with Americans."
To learn more about these findings, read the report, Climate Insights 2020: Surveying American Public Opinion on Climate Change and the Environment, by Jon Krosnick, social psychologist at Stanford University and RFF university fellow, and Bo MacInnis, lecturer at Stanford University and PhD economist. You can also try out our interactive data tool, which allows users to explore the data in greater depth.

Future installments in the survey series will focus on natural disasters, green stimulus, political dynamics, and electric vehicles, and an overall synthesis.

Resources for the Future (RFF)

Related Climate Change Articles from Brightsurf:

Are climate scientists being too cautious when linking extreme weather to climate change?
Climate science has focused on avoiding false alarms when linking extreme events to climate change.

Mysterious climate change
New research findings underline the crucial role that sea ice throughout the Southern Ocean played for atmospheric CO2 in times of rapid climate change in the past.

Mapping the path of climate change
Predicting a major transition, such as climate change, is extremely difficult, but the probabilistic framework developed by the authors is the first step in identifying the path between a shift in two environmental states.

Small change for climate change: Time to increase research funding to save the world
A new study shows that there is a huge disproportion in the level of funding for social science research into the greatest challenge in combating global warming -- how to get individuals and societies to overcome ingrained human habits to make the changes necessary to mitigate climate change.

Sub-national 'climate clubs' could offer key to combating climate change
'Climate clubs' offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally harmonized climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.

Review of Chinese atmospheric science research over the past 70 years: Climate and climate change
Over the past 70 years since the foundation of the People's Republic of China, Chinese scientists have made great contributions to various fields in the research of atmospheric sciences, which attracted worldwide attention.

A CERN for climate change
In a Perspective article appearing in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Tim Palmer (Oxford University), and Bjorn Stevens (Max Planck Society), critically reflect on the present state of Earth system modelling.

Fairy-wrens change breeding habits to cope with climate change
Warmer temperatures linked to climate change are having a big impact on the breeding habits of one of Australia's most recognisable bird species, according to researchers at The Australian National University (ANU).

Believing in climate change doesn't mean you are preparing for climate change, study finds
Notre Dame researchers found that although coastal homeowners may perceive a worsening of climate change-related hazards, these attitudes are largely unrelated to a homeowner's expectations of actual home damage.

Older forests resist change -- climate change, that is
Older forests in eastern North America are less vulnerable to climate change than younger forests, particularly for carbon storage, timber production, and biodiversity, new research finds.

Read More: Climate Change News and Climate Change Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to