Nearly half of Americans say people in the United States are being harmed by global warming “right now”—the highest point ever in a decade-long national survey called Climate Change in the American Mind.
The climate communications researchers who conducted the survey believe the results released Tuesday mark a shift in perceptions on the urgency of the climate crisis, with far-reaching implications for the politics of what should be done to address the issue.
“For the longest time, we have been saying that while most Americans understand that the climate is changing, most systematically misunderstand it and misperceive it as being a distant threat,” said Edward Maibach, a professor at George Mason University. He is one of the principal investigators of the survey, conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication.
“This survey really was, I think, the inflection point where that has changed,” he said