The results are in: 70 percent of Americans polled believe that climate change is real. This finding tracks almost exactly with the 2016 Yale Climate Opinion Maps survey, which found that 69 percent of respondents answered “yes, global warming is happening.”
But there’s more to opinions about climate change than its inevitability and what we discovered may shock you. Read on to discover everything from how many Millennials believe climate change will affect their future to how folks prioritize climate change in relation to other global issues.
6 Surprising Findings about How Americans See Climate Change
1. Millennials Are Less Likely to Believe in Climate Change
Q: What best describes your belief about climate change?
At 68.63%, Millennials are the least likely generation to select climate change is “real and happening now,” in spite of having come of age “during the hottest 10-year period in the last 100 years.
2. Women Are More Likely to Believe that Climate Change Is Caused by Human Activity
Q: Based on your understanding of climate change, do you believe it is caused by human activity?
Women polled are about 7% more likely than their male counterparts to believe that climate change is caused by human activity.
3. Men Are More Confident in their Understanding of Climate Change
Q: Rate your understanding of climate change.
Even though more women believe that climate change is caused by human activity, men, by and large, are more confident in their understanding of it.
4. Boomers Are More Likely to Think Climate Change Is out of Our Control
Q: Based on your understanding of climate change, what are the top 3 causes of climate change?
Perhaps most troubling about this finding is that a lot of environmental factors are well within our control—like methane emissions from animals (i.e. meat and dairy production), which “accounted for about 16% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2015.”
5. Millennials Are Also More Likely to Believe that Climate Change Will Not Affect Them
Q: How likely is it that you are or will be personally affected by climate change?
Aren’t Gen Xers supposed to be the apathetic generation? Maybe not. 19% of Millennials think it is “less likely” that climate change will affect their future—more than any other generation.
This analysis is based on a compilation of 800 completed surveys from Americans 14 and older. Just Energy (JE) asked participants to respond to 10 questions with a variety of answers, from whether they believed in climate change at all and what their understanding is of the subject to who they think is responsible and why.
JE broke down results data by generation, gender, and education.