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Activists conference to get involved in a climate change protest in Washington, D.C., ~ above Dec. 6, 2019. (Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

It’s been 50 years because the first Earth job on April 22, 1970. The event – a “teach-in top top the environment” released by U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin – referred to as attention come the aftermath of a huge oil spill off the Santa Barbara coastline the front year. The protest helped set the political phase for a te of brand-new regulations, including the Clean Water Act and also the Endangered varieties Act.

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Earth job has because expanded across the globe, bringing citizens together – at least virtually for 2020 – to educate, mobilize and celebrate. If the occasion focuses top top a variety of eco-friendly concerns, climate readjust has loomed especially large over the previous decade, occasionally sparking major protests urging an ext action to alleviate it and its effects.

This year’s earth Day comes at a distinct moment. Civilization in countless countries continue to be under stay-at-home assignment to assist mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, and also the resulting shifts in transportation, industrial activity and consumer habits are leading to a decline in carbon emissions. Whether such declines will be short-term or lasting remains unclear.

For earth Day 2020, we take share of U.S. Publicly opinion about an international climate adjust and the environment, based upon recent Pew Research center surveys.


The data because that this article was drawn from multiple surveys. Countless findings are from a Pew Research facility survey carried out Oct. 1-13, 2019, amongst 3,627 U.S. Adults.

The October 2019 and Jan. 7-21, 2019, surveys were conducted using the Center’s American patterns Panel (ATP), an virtual survey panel the is recruited v national, arbitrarily sampling the residential addresses. This permits for almost all U.S. Adult to have a possibility of selection. The surveys space weighted to it is in representative of the U.S. Adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories. Read much more about the ATP’s methodology. Different surveys were conducted Jan. 8-13, 2020, and Jan. 9-14, 2019, through telephone v a sample the randomly selected U.S. Adults.

Here are the questions and also responses for surveys provided in this post, and also each survey’s methodology:


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1Two-thirds that U.S. Adult say the federal federal government is law too tiny to mitigate the results of global climate change. Similar share say the government is act too tiny to defend water (68%) and air top quality (67%), if majorities speak the same when it involves protecting animals and their habitats (62%) and also protecting open lands in the nationwide parks (55%).

These findings from one October 2019 survey come amid ongoing efforts to roll earlier regulations designed to safeguard the environment, including relaxing borders on methane and also carbon emissions.

Public concern around climate change has remained steady even as concerns around the spread out of transmittable diseases have actually risen. In a survey last month, six-in-ten american said global climate adjust is a major threat come the country, up from 44% in 2009. Respondents who took the inspection in the latter part of the month – ~ the march 13 statements of a nationwide emergency as result of the coronavirus – were about equally concerned around climate readjust as those interviewed earlier in the month.

See also: U.S. Concern around climate adjust is rising, but mainly amongst Democrats

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2Compared v a decade ago, more Americans speak protecting the environment and dealing with an international climate change should be height priorities because that the president and also Congress. practically two-thirds that U.S. Adult (64%) say protecting the atmosphere should it is in a peak priority because that the president and Congress, if about fifty percent (52%) to speak the same about dealing with global climate change, according to a January 2020 survey. These shares have actually grown considerably since 2011.

Partisanship continues to be a major factor in these priorities. More Democrats and also Democratic-leaning independents (85%) think protecting the environment should it is in a optimal priority because that the president and also Congress than carry out Republicans and GOP leaners (39%). Many of the increase in the re-superstructure of human being who prioritize climate change has come among Democrats, no Republicans.

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3A 63% majority of americans say stricter ecological regulations room worth the cost. as soon as asked come choose, most Americans speak stricter environmental regulations are worthwhile, while 30% think together laws and regulations price too many jobs and hurt the economy. Public see on this issue have fluctuated native year to year, back the balance that opinion is practically the same as it was when first asked 25 year ago.

There are vast partisan divides on this question. Together of at an early stage 2019, 81% of democrats (and independents who lean come the autonomous Party) had a optimistic view the stricter ecological regulations, contrasted with 45% of Republicans and also GOP-leaning independents. Most conservative republicans (60%) say eco-friendly regulations price too many jobs and hurt the economy. GOP moderates and liberals take it the opposite view: 60% in this group say such regulations room worth the cost.

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4A majority of Americans see at least some local results of climate change. In October 2019, about six-in-ten americans (62%) stated that global climate adjust was affecting their local ar a good deal or some. Those who claimed this were asked which of several possible effects to be impacting your area. Most considered long durations of warm weather (79% of those asked) and also severe weather patterns such as floods or storms (70%) come be significant ways the climate readjust has impacted their local community.

The types of effects civilization say they experience due to climate adjust tend come vary throughout regions. For example, among those that say they view at the very least some local effects of climate change, an ext of those in the Pacific (83%) and also Mountain (78%) regions say enhancing wildfire activity is a major effect the climate readjust where castle live. This compares with about half or fewer of those living in the southern (52%), Northeast (46%) or Midwest (40%).

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5Republicans and Democrats differ end the results of climate plans for the environment and also for the economy. In the October 2019 survey, two-thirds of americans (67%) said the federal federal government wasn’t doing enough to alleviate the results of an international climate change. But there were large political divides end the results of climate policy. For example, 71% of democrats said policies aimed in ~ reducing climate adjust generally provide net benefits for the environment, compared with about a 3rd of republic (34%). Instead, 43% of Republicans said such plans make no difference and around two-in-ten (22%) said they do more harm than an excellent for the environment.

Republicans see much more risk 보다 Democrats as soon as it concerns the financial effects that climate policies. Around fifty percent of republic (52%) stated in 2019 the such policies hurt the economy. In contrast, most Democrats claimed climate plans either aid (47%) or make no difference (38%) to the economy.

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6Millennial Republicans different from baby Boomer and older republic on a selection of concerns related come the environment. There is strong consensus among Democrats the the federal federal government is law too small on vital aspects of the environment, such together protecting water and air quality and also reducing the results of climate change. But among Republicans, there are sizable distinctions in views by generation. Millennial and younger republicans – adults born in or after ~ 1981 – are more likely 보다 Republicans in the infant Boomer or larger generations come think government efforts to minimize climate change are insufficient (52% vs. 31%).

GOP Millennial and Gen Z adult are also less inclined 보다 older Republican generations come prioritize fossil fuel development. Because that example, 78% the Millennial and also Gen Z republic say the advance of different energy sources should be a priority for the United states over the growth of fossil fuel sources, contrasted with 53% of republicans in the infant Boomer or older generations.

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7Partisanship is a stronger variable in people’s beliefs about climate readjust than is your level the knowledge and also understanding about science.

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In October 2019, around nine-in-ten Democrats v a high level the knowledge around science (89%) said human activity contributes a good deal to climate change, contrasted with 41% of Democrats with low science knowledge, based on an 11-item expertise index. By contrast, Republicans v a high level of science understanding were no more likely than those with a low level of expertise to speak human activity plays a strong function in climate change. A comparable pattern to be found regarding people’s beliefs around energy issues. This findings highlight that the relationship between people’s level of science knowledge and their attitudes can it is in complex.