Given all the recent reports about the dangers of climate change, you might think Americans would be more persuaded than ever of the need for action on the issue. But the opposite is true. Support has been declining in the last few years, suggesting scientific evidence isn’t really the decisive factor in what people believe.
The United States is now more skeptical about climate change than any other major nation, a new international survey shows. Just 54% of Americans agree that climate change is “largely the result of human activity,” with 32% disagreeing with the statement. That compares with countries like China, where 93% of people agree with the human-activity theory of climate change, and Argentina, the next country on the list, where 84% agree.
The online survey, conducted by Ipsos-Mori, polled 16,039 adults in 20 countries. It found English-speaking people are most likely to be skeptical. The U.K. and Australia also have higher numbers of skeptics. Twenty-five percent of Australians disbelieve the theory.
Americans are less pessimistic about the environment in general. Asked whether we’re headed for environmental disaster in the future “unless we change our habits quickly,” 57% agreed, while 32% disagreed (11% said they didn’t know). By contrast, in China 91% agreed and only 7% disagreed, which isn’t surprising given all its serious air and water quality issues. Across all countries, 73% agreed, 20% disagreed, and 7% said they didn’t know.