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NSEE Fall 2018 Findings

Findings from the Fall 2018 NSEE

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Global Warming Beliefs

Acceptance of global warming remains at record levels.

The issue of global warming has been thrust into the headlines again with the release of the National Climate Assessment’s report and President Trump’s statements of skepticism regarding the report’s findings. Despite that, a record number of Americans indicate there is solid evidence of warming on the planet.

The results of the Fall 2018 version of the National Surveys on Energy and Environment (NSEE) found 73% of Americans think that there is solid evidence of global warming, matching the previous record level of acceptance that was established earlier this year. Since the Fall of 2016 at least 7 out of 10 adult Americans have indicated that there is solid evidence of global warming, indicating a more sustained consensus on this topic than at any other period during the last decade.

Figure 1. American views on evidence of global warming, 2008-2018


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Question text: "Next, I would like to ask you a few questions on the issue of global warming. From what you've read and heard, is there solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been getting warmer over the past four decades?"



A majority of Republicans say there is solid evidence that the earth is warming.

While President Trump’s recent statements indicate his uncertainty about the quality of evidence regarding climate change, a majority (52%) of his fellow Republicans during the Fall of 2018 stated that they believe there is solid evidence of global warming over the past four decades. Democrats and Independents were significantly more likely than their Republican counterparts to indicate that there is evidence of global warming with 89% of Democrats and 71% of Independents maintaining this view.

Figure 2. Percent of Americans that Believe there is Solid Evidence of Global Warming, by Party Affiliation


[Enlarge image]

Question text: "Next, I would like to ask you a few questions on the issue of global warming. From what you've read and heard, is there solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been getting warmer over the past four decades?"



Most Americans connect extreme weather events to the effects of climate change.

Many Americans believe that climate change played a role in the extreme weather-related events of 2018 that included record wildfires, intense drought, flooding and major hurricanes. A solid majority (70%) of Americans indicated that climate change had either a major (43%) or some (27%) role in the extreme weather events that occurred in North America over the last year. As was the case with views related to evidence of climate change, perceptions of the relationship between 2018’s extreme weather events and climate change were shaped significantly by party affiliation. While sizeable majorities of Democrats (87%) and Independents (70%) indicated that climate change played either a major or some role in the year’s extreme weather events, less than half (49%) of Republicans made similar appraisals.

Figure 3. American Views on the Effect of Climate Change on Extreme Weather Events in North America in 2018, by Party Affiliation

Question text: " As you may have heard, parts of North America have recently experienced significant heat waves, flooding, wildfires, droughts, and hurricanes. What role, if any, would you say climate change has played in these extreme weather events? Would you say climate change has played a major role, some role, a minor role, or no role in these extreme weather events?"

National Surveys on Energy & Environment





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