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What do Americans Think about Global Warming?
Blog...What do Americans Think about Global Warming?

What do Americans Think about Global Warming?

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people running and biking with american flag
What do Americans think about global warming, how has the U.S. made an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainability across the country, and what do Americans do on an everyday basis to fight global warming?
people running and biking with american flag

Americans are a special breed of their own with an abundance of flaws and good qualities. Many view Americans to be living in a type of la-la-land – where their resources are superior to the rest of the world, and a country where being able to buy the newest iPhone means you are more successful than your peers.

On the flip side, as an American living abroad, it can be said that there is one indispensable quality to be had of almost all Americans – our diligence and worth ethic remains unmatched to many countries in the world. 

However, given the popular perception of most Americans around the world, many believe that Americans are oblivious to the impacts of global warming – but is that really the case?

According to a study by Yale, a whopping 72% of Americans believe climate change is happening and 61% believe it is affecting the weather across the climate-diverse country.

What do Americans think about global warming, how has the U.S. made an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainability across the country, and how do Americans make the effort to fight global warming on a daily basis?

american flags in protest

What do most countries think about Americans?

Being American used to be a subject of envy for most: encapsulated by the T.V. shows and singers that originated from the United States – but as of recently, many cultures have begun to question their fascination for Americans and their culture in the first place.

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Many countries cannot understand how Americans can have so much opportunity, but fail to use their resources for greater causes such as global warming – with major celebrities in the U.S. using their paychecks to pollute the planet even more with their private jets or fail to find ways to make their concerts more sustainable.

Most people who aren’t American, or haven’t met Americans personally, also tend to categorize Americans and forget how massive the country and its population is – totaling at almost 335 million people. In other words, not all Americans are the same – with opinions varying depending on which political party they belong to or where in the U.S. they live. The values of someone from New York City are likely to differ from someone who lives in the middle of Texas, and neither are good or bad – just different, as the United States is a melting pot of different cultures and ideas. 

Some of the most hated qualities of Americans include their constant desire to work, negating the importance of vacation time or pursuing hobbies, the expensive education system Americans remain in debt for years after receiving their degree, and the American healthcare system.

👉 However, this being said, there are assets that many cultures continue to admire about Americans: such as the continuous technological advances made by the country, the media produced by Americans (think Taylor Swift’s music and all those Netflix movies watched around the world), and the military system many Americans continue to support and respect.

people at a concert

How has the U.S. and Americans tackled global warming?

In recent years, the United States has upped its game in fighting against climate change with new environmental legislation in states like California and New York to facilitate the transition to a clean energy economy – as well as the Biden administration passing the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 to incentivize Americans to pick the more sustainable or energy efficient option when shopping for new appliances or vehicles. 

On the government side of things, the U.S. is starting to require companies to comply with more stringent transparent measures to ensure that greenwashing doesn’t happen – such as with the new SEC climate disclosure rule that will require all public companies to share their emissions data, climate related risks, and their future plans to combat greenhouse gas emissions and climate change as a whole.

The U.S. has also made great strides with their Clean Air Act to help improve the Air Quality Index, Montreal Protocol, and the Endangered Species Act. In addition to this, the U.S. has been a part of the Paris Climate Agreement to help encourage reducing greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale. 

How do Americans feel about all of these newfound efforts to fight against climate change and promote sustainability?

filling up an electric car

Do most Americans value fighting against global warming?

Unbeknownst to most, especially those who already don’t perceive Americans well – the majority of Americans view global warming as a pressing issue that needs to be addressed immediately and effectively, with a whopping

💡 In fact, almost 70% percent of Americans want the U.S. to continue taking steps towards carbon neutrality, with the same number of Americans believing that making use of renewable energy sources is pivotal and more imperative than seeking new fossil fuel projects or encouraging the production of other finite resources. 

Contrary to what many think, both major political parties are supportive of fighting against climate change – with 90% percent of Democrats supporting the efforts to become more sustainable and reduce overall emissions produced by the country, and with 44% percent of Republicans feeling the same way towards global warming. 

Here are some more statistics on how Americans feel about climate change:

  • If you were in a room with 6 Americans, 5 of those Americans would believe that climate change is happening – and only 1 would argue that it isn't;
  • 49% of Americans are sure climate change is happening, whereas only 8% are unsure;
  • 46% of Americans feel that climate change is affecting their everyday lives;
  • As many as 10% of Americans, or over 30 million people, have thought of moving to avoid natural disasters caused by climate change;
  • 71% of Americans believe that climate change will harm plant and animal species;
  • Nearly one third of Americans, 29%, believe that climate change is occurring as a result of natural processes;
  • 74% of Americans are concerned with air pollution, 70% extreme heat, 67% water pollution, 63% droughts, 52% wildfires, 56% tornadoes, and 39% hurricanes;
  • Only 58% of Americans believe that climate change is caused by humans, despite the most recent IPCC report stating that the biggest reason for rising world-wide emissions is a direct result of increased human activity.

👉 However, despite the overwhelming consensus that Americans do indeed care about addressing climate change – the extent to which Americans care greatly depends on which political party they belong to: as Republicans are more likely to compromise on a potentially negative environmental business proposition if it means stimulating the economy, whereas Democrats tend to prioritize the planet. In addition to this, younger generations such as Millennials and those in Generation Z are more likely to be concerned about climate change than older generations.

The opinion of climate change from the perspective of Americans is subject to be influenced by various things such as scientific discoveries, how climate change is presented in the media, news coverage of natural disasters, or public statements from well-known political figures or celebrities.
new york times paper copy wrapped up

What are some things that Americans do that show they aren’t concerned about global warming?

Despite the fact that the majority of studies show that Americans do care about climate change, Americans are also known to have a few infamous habits that could come off to the rest of the world as being ignorant about global warming.

For instance, Americans have lifestyles that result in a large carbon footprint – such as driving big vehicles, needing to travel by plane to get around the United States, or living in big houses that require a lot of energy to power. In the United States, everything is bigger and better – but when it comes to climate change, bigger and better doesn’t help the cause.

The U.S. also has an odd dependency on fossil fuels, with even the most recent debt ceiling deal somehow persuading the Biden administration to follow through with a new fossil fuel pipeline project. Despite the country’s ability to make use of renewable energy sources, Americans still often opt for gasoline powered cars and finite energy sources – even as Biden implores Americans to choose energy efficient options.

Some Americans go to the extent of disregarding scientific studies that prove climate change is real, and is getting worse as human activities and mass production continue at full-speed ahead. In fact, even long-time American senators are often able to convince Americans otherwise.  

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Americans are also often accused of not having a government that is worried enough about the ongoing and future effects of climate change, and there not being enough engagement to encourage Americans to take action towards a brighter future – such as the fact that many Americans view voting in the next presidential election as “pointless” as their vote “may not make a difference” in the midst of over 300 million other Americans casting their ballots.

👉 Ultimately, most Americans live a lifestyle that is not conducive to fighting against climate change. Countries like Spain and Italy are used to leaving their clothes hanging outside to dry, whereas Americans will lose their minds if they don’t have an in-unit washer and dryer. This is one of the many examples of how a higher standard of living, such as demonstrated by Americans, may not come off as the most eco-friendly.

old car/trunk

How could Americans change their lifestyles to fight global warming without giving up classic American values?

Much of the difficulty of Americans seeking to fight against global warming or becoming more sustainable is that it goes against much of the inherent values of the United States: such as mass consumption, opting for convenient single us plastics, and throwing massive parties for holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, the 4th of July, and Christmas – all of which create a substantial carbon footprint.

💡Think about it: American candies, fast fashion, and constantly upgrading to the newest iPhone are all present in American culture – and all are bad for the environment. Given the United States and Americans are built around mass production and consumerism, it is easy to understand why it’s difficult for Americans to change their ways to be more sustainable and eco-friendly.

view of inside commerical mall

However, not all hope is lost. There are definitely a few things that Americans can do to alter their lifestyles to be more environmentally friendly without giving up on their classic American lifestyle.

For instance, Americans could opt to purchase green cars to keep the beloved tradition of Americans to do a cross-country road trip without polluting the planet with greenhouse gas emissions. Not only will this help to lessen the environmental impact created by Americans (where 29% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. are due to transportation – but Americans will be subject to a tax reduction in line with the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

Another big part of the lifestyle of Americans is excessive waste, such as wrapping gifts of the holiday season where a lot of paper and packaging materials end up getting thrown away instead of recycled. Therefore, Americans could benefit from choosing sustainable packaging when gifting presents – especially during the holiday season. Americans are also big on online orders and deliveries, so major American shopping retailers and meal kit delivery services would benefit from seeking to sustainably packaging their products as well.

Lastly, Americans could help to reduce their carbon footprint by opting for a vegan meal every once in a while. Vegan options in the U.S. are abundant and often cooked so you can’t even realize you’re not eating meat.

Overall, Americans aren’t as oblivious or indifferent about climate change as you might think – but they also have a long way to go to be considered the most sustainable culture in the world.

What about Greenly? 

If reading this article about what Americans think about global warming has made you interested in reducing your carbon emissions to further fight against climate change – Greenly can help you!

It can be hard to keep track of all of the news happening around the world, such as what Americans think about climate change – but don’t worry, Greenly is here to keep you up to date on all of the latest climate news

Greenly can help you make an environmental change for the better, starting with a carbon footprint assessment to know how much carbon emissions your company produces.

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