Seven out of 10 Americans are aware of the scientific consensus that climate change is largely caused by people, and that the world isn't on track to reach the temperature reduction targets of the Paris climate agreement, according to an Ipsos poll shared exclusively with Axios.
Why it matters: It's the latest in a series of polls that suggest Americans' understanding of climate change has increased in recent years, and particularly over the last five years.
By the numbers: The poll found that 84% of Democrats and 77% of independents were aware that climate scientists overwhelmingly agree that climate change is caused by human activities, and that the world is off track to meet the Paris targets.
- Republicans had the lowest share of correct answers, but a slight majority — 52% — were aware of both the scientific consensus and the reality that the world hasn't made enough progress toward the Paris targets.
The poll also found significant differences by education, with 80% of people with college degrees or higher answering the question correctly, compared to 73% of people with some college and 65% of those with a high school degree or less.
- 77% of urban respondents and 73% of suburban respondents answered the question correctly, compared to 61% of rural respondents.
- There were no significant differences by age, income or region of the country.
Between the lines: Climate surveys have found that while a majority of Americans are aware of the scientific consensus, which holds that emissions from human activities are the main cause of global warming in recent decades, they tend to significantly underestimate the extent of that agreement.
- Polling from Yale's Program on Climate Change Communication has found that only about 1 in 5 Americans understands that "nearly all climate scientists (more than 90%) are convinced that human-caused global warming is happening."
- Some researchers have shown that one's perception of the amount of scientific agreement is actually a "gateway belief" to viewing climate change as a threat and supporting public action to address it.
Methodology: This poll was conducted June 11–14 by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,019 general population adults age 18 or older. The sample includes 290 Republicans, 304 Democrats and 315 independents.
- The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults.