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New study finds Americans are increasingly alarmed about the climate crisis

Weather extremes in 2021 included a once-in-a-thousand-years heatwave in North America. — © AFP
Weather extremes in 2021 included a once-in-a-thousand-years heatwave in North America. — © AFP

A new study reveals that Americans are becoming increasingly worried about global warming and are now more engaged with climate change issues and solutions than in past years.

In the new study, the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication organized Americans into six distinct groups based on beliefs, attitudes, policy support, and behavior with regard to climate change. 

The groups include: the “Alarmed,” the “Concerned,” the “Cautious,” the “Disengaged,” the “Doubtful” and the “Dismissive.”
Source – Yale Program on Climate Change Communication

The Alarmed are convinced global warming is happening, human-caused, an urgent threat, and they strongly support climate policies. Most, however, do not know what they or others can do to solve the problem.

The Concerned think human-caused global warming is happening, is a serious threat, and supports climate policies. However, they tend to believe that climate impacts are still distant in time and space, thus climate change remains a lower priority issue.

The Cautious are aware of climate change but are uncertain about its causes and are not very worried.

The Disengaged know little about global warming. They rarely or never hear about it in the media. 

The Doubtful do not think global warming is happening or they believe it is just a natural cycle. They do not think much about the issue or consider it a serious risk.

The Dismissive believe global warming is not happening, human-caused, or a threat – and most endorse conspiracy theories (e.g., “global warming is a hoax”).

The number of participants that fall under the Alarmed category nearly doubled in size over the last five years, growing 15 percentage points from 18 percent to 33 percent of the U.S. adult population. That includes an increase of 9 percent from March 2021 to September 2021, a year that saw a number of climate records shattered and extreme weather events.  

According to the study, nearly six in 10 Americans, 59 percent, are either Alarmed or Concerned compared to 19 percent who are Doubtful or Dismissive.  

“The growth of the Alarmed segment … is encouraging because progress on climate change requires strong, coordinated, and sustained action, and the Alarmed are the most likely to demand and support these actions by leaders,” the study said, reports The Guardian.


Written By

Karen Graham is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for environmental news. Karen's view of what is happening in our world is colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in man's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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