Who Should Take Action

youtube=http://youtu.be/saPDxMV8lO4

As  Jon Krosnick explains in the video above, the public has been sending clear signals about global warming policy: most people have believed that governments, businesses, and individuals should take action to reduce future warming, as explained in detail below.

 

U.S. GOVERNMENT ACTION
Consistently, large majorities of Americans have said that the federal government should devote effort to dealing with global warming. In 1997, more than three-quarters of people surveyed said the government should do at least a moderate amount. That position has remained consistent (77% in 1997 and 80% in 2018), as shown in the figure below.

Question wording can be found here.

 

As to whether government actions are currently sufficient, 68% of people in 2018 said that the U.S. government should do more than it is doing now, as shown in the figure below.  That is a relative high point.

Question wording can be found here.

SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT SEE GLOBAL WARMING AS A PRIORITY?

Depending on recurring political and societal issues like the economy, crime, and foreign affairs, people change the issues that they consider the most important for the country to address. It is possible that people might see global warming as a problem for the nation and the world, but they wouldn’t necessarily consider it as an immediate, high priority in the context of weighing other issues.

So do Americans want their leaders to prioritize global warming? By a majority hovering just over half, Americans in 2015 said yes. They thought global warming should be extremely or very important to President Obama (53%), to congressional Democrats (52%), and to congressional Republicans (52%) (see the following three figures).

Slide1


Data collected in January 2015. Question wording can be found here.

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Data collected in January 2015. Question wording can be found here.

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Data collected in January 2015. Question wording can be found here.

But, in 2015, people said they did not see leaders in Washington assigning appropriate priority to the issue. As shown in the three figures below, more respondents thought that Mr. Obama should raise the emphasis on global warming (43%) than thought that he was giving it sufficient importance. With regard to Democrats in Congress, 46% of people said lawmakers should have attached more importance to global warming. For congressional Republicans, the number was 56%.

Slide4


Data collected in January 2015. Question wording can be found here.

 

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Data collected in January 2015. Question wording can be found here.

 

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Data collected in January 2015. Question wording can be found here.

OTHER ACTORS

Americans have indicated that actors outside of government should play roles in dealing with global warming.  They have said that businesses and average people should step up as well.

As shown in the figure below, since 1997, a majority of Americans (around 70%) have thought that businesses should do more that they were currently doing to address global warming. There was a slight dip in  this percentage in 2009 when the majority fell to 58%, but it went back up to 71% in 2012 and has remained that high since then, at 67% in 2018.


Question wording can be found here.

 

Moreover, since 1997, a majority of Americans (around 65%) have said that average people should do more to address global warming as well (see figure below). In 2013, the size of this majority even reached 74%, and in 2018, it was 69%.


Question wording can be found here.