How Worried Are People About Climate Change?

I was on the phone with my editor yesterday and we happened to get on the topic of public opinion about climate change. I thought that concern about climate change had peaked around 2006-08 after Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth tour, while she thought it was peaking now. Gallup has a series of questions about climate change that they’ve polled for the past couple of decades, so I headed over there. Here’s what they show:

It turns out we were both right. Concern about climate change did peak after Al Gore’s tour and then slumped during the Great Recession. But it began picking up again when the economy improved and is currently at about the same level as the post-Gore peak. Now here’s a look at where climate change ranks compared to other environmental issues. This is the percentage of people who said they worried “a great deal” about each of the listed problems:

Climate change hangs out in the middle with four other issues that poll at the same level. Put these two charts together and it’s clear that people are thinking more about climate change these days, but without a ton of urgency.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.