More Americans Feel and Recognize the Climate Crisis

More Americans Feel and Recognize the Climate Crisis

Extreme weather is changing American minds on climate change, according to new research released by NPR on Wednesday. The poll of 2,600 Americans found that 78% had experienced an extreme weather event within the last few years, and 24% dealt with lasting health consequences as a result. Those who experienced severe weather said they were more likely to believe climate change was a threat, with 77% of affected households describing climate change as a "crisis” or a "major problem.”

NPR/Havard T. H. Chan School of Public Health: The Impact of Extreme Weather on Views About Climate Policy in the United States (Report), June 2022.

ABC News: Extreme weather affects millions across US, June 14, 2022.

The Economist: See what 3 degrees of global warming looks like, October 30, 2021.

Why This Matters

American opinions on climate change have evolved drastically over the past decade, as people continue to realize the scale of the crisis. In 2015, only 53% of Americans believed climate change was happening. Now, 75% of Americans do. Americans who have endured severe weather also show greater support for government action against climate change. Of those who were personally affected, 71% support stricter fuel standards, while only 53% of the unaffected do. The same is true of support for climate resiliency measures -- 64% of the personally affected support improvements to the electrical grid, while only 47% of the unaffected were.

As severe weather persists, pummeling the country and world, the share of people who recognize climate change as an urgent problem is increasing. This summer could be one of the most extreme yet, as both the US and Europe have broken heat records before the season even began. This week has been especially hot across the States with experts warning that warming temperatures mean evenings are not likely to provide relief.

25 News KXXV:Texas natural gas production dropped amid cold front, experts raise concerns over power grid, January 6, 2022.

ABC 13: Record Texas heat could push power grid demand to brink, ERCOT warns, May 3, 2022.

CNBC: Severe drought in Southwest threatens water and energy security, April 27, 2022.

Your Bottom Dollar

As the number of Americans impacted by climate change increases, the more likely you are to be one of them -- and it may take a toll on your finances. According to NPR, insurance often does not cover all damages wrought by extreme weather, leaving homeowners and the injured to fend for themselves. After severe weather, 17% of people said they suffered financial trouble, as they sought to pay medical bills and repair their homes and cars. This figure will surely increase.

Guardian: How the climate crisis is forcing Americans to relocate, November 5, 2021.

Yale Climate Connections: Coming soon to at-risk homes: Property insurance 'sticker shock,' October 6, 2021.

MSNBC: Climate Change Is Our Greatest Existential Threat, January 3, 2022.