Polling Shows Clear Climate Consensus Among Americans

72% of Americans acknowledge global warming, defying divisive political rhetoric.

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Welcome to Climate on the Ballot, the weekly elections email from the editors at Covering Climate Now. Our goal over the next 40 weeks is to help you and your newsroom make the climate crisis an integral part of your coverage of this year’s elections — local, state and national. Every week, we’ll pass along a topic, offer up some advice on how to integrate it into your coverage, and share inspiring work that you and other outlets are doing.

Vea la versión en español de El clima en La boleta Electoral aquí.

This Week: Public Opinion

The American public isn’t as divided on climate change as you might think. The definitive polling on climate, from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, shows that the number of Americans who think global warming is happening outnumber those who don’t by nearly five to one (72% versus 15%). So, while some candidates frame climate as a too-close-to-call question (or even “a hoax”), both voters — and scientists — know that’s not true.

Reporting Ideas

  • Explore the Yale data for your metro area. Research what your audiences think about climate change and interview people about their views.
  • Press your elected officials, especially those running for office this year, on what they’re doing to address the climate crisis locally. If they oppose climate projects, ask them to explain why.
  • Profile people who buck the conventional wisdom about climate action: hunters concerned about the environment, religious leaders worried about Earth, small business owners adapting their business models because of climate impacts.

Take Inspiration

  • New Hampshire Public Radio reports on young Republicans pressing their party to take climate action.
  • The New York Times profiles a fisherman urging his neighbors to consider climate change when casting their ballots.
  • This Pew Research Center poll shows that two-thirds of Americans say the country should prioritize developing renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, over the expansion of fossil fuel production.

Spotlight Piece

This New York Times article written by climate and policy reporter Lisa Friedman analyzes shortcomings in how the Biden administration talks about the Inflation Reduction Act’s climate achievements. Some of the same critiques apply to press coverage of the landmark law.

Want to share feedback and stories inspired by this newsletter? Shoot us a note at editors@coveringclimatenow.org.