Less than half of U.S. adults think climate change is mostly or entirely caused by humans, according to a report published April 10 by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Agreement that climate change is happening has remained relatively steady in the past seven years: 74% (2023), 75% (2021), 71% (2018), 72% (2017), 77% (2016). Mostly the changes in polling data have been the result of shifts in views regarding the cause of climate change.
The percentage of respondents who say climate change is mostly or entirely the result of human activities has steadily declined in recent years, falling from 60% affirmation of this view in 2018 to 54% in 2021 to 49% in 2023.
Nearly four in 10 adults (37%) say climate change is caused equally by humans and natural changes (up five points from 2021), while 14% say it is mostly or entirely the result of natural changes (unchanged from 2021).
A majority (53%) of U.S. adults say climate change is either extremely (28%) or very (25%) important to them (down six points since 2021), while 42% are either extremely (19%) or very (23%) concerned about the effects of climate change on them personally (up seven points from 2022).
Around six in 10 are either extremely (37%) or very (26%) concerned about the impact of climate change on future generations (down two points from 2022), and more than half (55%) say that the pace of climate change is getting a lot or a little faster (down four points from 2021).
Respondents who have experienced an extreme weather event were far more likely than those who have not to say that climate change is happening (83% to 64%, respectively), that it is mostly or entirely caused by humans (54% to 43%, respectively) and that it is changing faster (67% to 42%, respectively). They are also more likely to be concerned that climate change will impact them personally (51% to 32%, respectively).
The highest percentage of U.S. adults say that scientists (51%) have a lot or a great deal of influence on their climate change views, followed by media (24%), Democratic political leaders (22%), corporate leaders (15%), Republican political leaders (15%) and religious leaders (13%).
Religious leaders had both the smallest percentage of respondents (13%) say they have “a great deal” (5%) or “a lot” (8%) of influence on their climate change views and the highest percentage of respondents (67%) say they have “not much” (25%) or “no influence at all” (42%) on their perspective.