When Americans look to the future, more than half are pessimistic about the prospects for extreme weather and climate events, especially those who report experiencing more extreme weather in their area in recent years. They say this experience with extreme weather has made them more concerned about climate change.
And climate is an issue most Americans want political leaders to address: the vast majority want their representative in Congress to Help efforts to combat climate change, and no oppose such efforts.
Parts of the West have been affected by severe storms and flooding recently, and our survey shows that people living in the West are slightly more likely than those living in other regions to say they have experienced more extreme weather in recent years. Regardless of the region they live in, the majority of Americans who tell us they have experienced extreme weather in their area say they are more worried about climate change.
Who considers climate change a high priority?
Even though many Americans are concerned about climate change, for most it is a “high” priority for Congress. Issues such as protecting Social Security, lowering inflation, crime, securing borders and increasing US energy production (something most Republicans prioritize) are now seen as more pressing.
Some see climate change as a more pressing issue than others. Younger Americans in particular place great importance on tackling climate change – one of the top priorities they want to focus on in this Congress. The percentage of 18-29 year olds who say this should be a “high” priority is the highest of any other age group.
We also continue to see partisan divisions in views on climate change – divisions that have been going on for years – with Democrats seeing this as a much higher priority than Republicans.
This does not mean that there are no Republicans who want to address the climate issue in some way. Nearly half want their representative in Congress to support efforts to fight climate change, including most Republicans under 50.
Fred Backus contributed to this report.
This CBS News/YouGov poll was conducted on a nationally representative sample of 2,144 U.S. adults interviewed January 4-6, 2023. The sample was weighted by gender, age, race, and education based on the US Census American Community Survey and Current Population Survey, as well as the 2020 presidential vote. The margin of error is ±2.9 points.