Climate Change Research ›› 2012, Vol. 8 ›› Issue (4): 297-304.

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American Public Understanding of Global Warming and Support for Climate Policy


  • Received:2011-12-31 Revised:2012-02-17 Online:2012-07-30 Published:2012-07-30
  • Contact: Genying Chang

Abstract: Based on poll data and related researches, this paper analyzed American public understanding of global warming, mitigation behavior and support for climate policy. It is found that a majority of the public believe that global warming exists, but many don’s know the relation between global warming and greenhouse gases, and confuse global warming with local air pollution and depletion of ozone in the upper atmosphere. Less than half of the public regard global warming as a serious problem for USA’s individuals and the society, whereas most of them think that global warming is a serious threat to future generations and developing countries. Most of the public recognize the necessity of changing lifestyle to reduce global warming, and have engaged in simple and low-cost behaviors to reduce carbon emissions. However, they are not ready to give up private cars and long distance air travel. The majority of the public support the federal government to control carbon emissions with the precondition that control measures will not hurt economy and employment. The preferred possible measures include developing vehicles and household appliances that use less energy, whereas increase in energy taxes is generally refused.

Key words: USA, global warming, climate policy, poll

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