New Survey Shows Dip in Americans Viewing Climate Change as Serious

Mark Landers
By Mark Landers

In a revealing shift, fewer Americans now consider climate change a “very serious” problem compared to three years ago, a Monmouth University survey disclosed on Monday. The study highlights a notable 10-point drop in concern, from 56% in September 2021 to 46% in April 2024.

This trend persists even though a significant majority—66%—still recognize climate change as either a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” issue, a slight decrease from 70% in 2021.

Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, observed a chilling trend in public sentiment. “Most Americans continue to believe climate change is real. The difference in these latest poll results is a decline in a sense of urgency around this issue,” Murray noted, pinpointing a change in the national mood.

Patrick Murray

Generational Gap Widens Amidst Environmental Concerns

The survey indicates a particularly stark decline in concern among young adults, traditionally the most vocal advocates for aggressive climate action. Among those aged 18-34, those categorizing climate change as a “very serious” problem plummeted by 17 points—from 67% in 2021 to just 50% this year.

Older generations also showed reduced anxiety, with adults aged 35-54 and those 55 and older both registering declines in concern.

Political Divides in Environmental Perception

The data also uncovered a continuing partisan divide in perceptions of climate urgency. While 77% of Democrats still view climate change as “very serious,” this is a decrease from 85% in 2021. Republican concern has halved, with only 13% considering it “very serious,” down from 21%. Independents’ concern has diminished as well, with a 13-point drop to 43%.

Additionally, skepticism about climate change’s existence has slightly increased, with those denying any change rising from 18% to 23%.

Broader Implications for Climate Action

This decline in perceived urgency comes at a critical juncture for environmental advocacy and policymaking. With global climate accords seeking urgent reductions in carbon emissions and a push toward renewable energy, the cooling of public concern in America could affect political will and the pace of environmental reforms.

The study, which surveyed 808 adults through phone interviews and online surveys, carries a margin of error of +/-4.1 percentage points, reflecting a snapshot of shifting attitudes that could shape future discussions and policies on climate change.

As the planet edges closer to critical environmental thresholds, the American public’s fluctuating concern raises questions about the future of national and global climate efforts, showing the need for renewed dialogue and engagement on this pressing issue.

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