American Climate Perspectives: Americans Align Behind the Science and Reality of Climate Change

A record 82% of Americans believe that climate change is happening, and 77% of them agree that it’s caused totally or partially by human activities.

Climate ChangeAs America celebrated the 47th Earth Day this past weekend with science marches in Washington, D.C. and other major cities, Americans are getting the message. Despite all the denial coming out of the Trump administration, a record 82% of Americans believe that climate change is happening, and 77% of them believe the scientists and agree that it’s caused all or partially by human activities.

The April 2017 American Climate Perspectives Survey conducted by the non-profit ecoAmerica found significant increases in awareness of climate change and alignment with science that overwhelmingly finds humans are the cause. “All across America, people are seeing unusual and rapid shifts in seasonal weather patterns,” said Meighen Speiser, ecoAmerica’s Chief Engagement Officer. “And Americans know that burning toxic fossil fuels causes dangerous pollution. There are very few of us left who are not making the connection.”

When it comes to climate change, which of the following is closer to your opinion?

It is happening…

Belief in human-caused climate change jumped from 22% of Americans in 2015 to 38% in April 2017. Denial and uncertainty about climate change are at record low numbers. Less than 10% of Americans overall think that climate change is not happening, or say they are unsure about the cause.

Republicans and Democrats still differ considerably on the causes of climate change. 52% of Republicans, 79% of Independents, and 91% of Democrats now believe that human activities are all or in part responsible for climate change. “Politics in the United States have become so polarized that Republicans and Democrats have a hard time agreeing on many things, even those they can see with their own eyes,” said Speiser. “Republicans need to come up with answers for climate solutions that support their values, instead of denying reality, if they want to maintain the confidence of their constituency.”

When it comes to climate change, which of the following is closer to your opinion?

It is happening…

Women and younger adults are leading the trend toward alignment between science, reality and people’s perspectives. 87% of females say climate change is happening (vs. 77% of males) and only 10% of females attribute climate change to natural causes (vs. 20% of males). Nearly half (48%) of 18-29 year olds attribute climate change mainly to human causes, with only 6% attributing it mainly to natural causes.

ecoAmerica designed and fielded this survey. It was conducted online from March 31-April 3, 2017 using Survey Monkey. The nationally representative sample of 801 adults was drawn from an online panel and respondents were screened to be over the age of 18 residing in the United States. The margin of error for the sample is +/-3.5%. In interpreting survey results, all sample surveys are subject to possible sampling error; that is, the results of a survey may differ from those, which would be obtained if the entire population were interviewed. The size of the sampling error depends upon both the total number of respondents in the survey and the percentage distribution of responses to a particular question. For example, if 50% of respondents in a sample of 900 respondents answered, “Yes” to a particular question, we can be 95% confident that the true percentage will fall within 3.5 points, or from 46.5% to 53.5%.

Suggested Citation
Speiser, M., and Fery, P. (2017). ecoAmerica American Climate Perspectives: April 2017. ecoAmerica. Washington, D.C.

For more information contact Meighen Speiser, ecoAmerica Chief Engagement Officer at

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