Research: 6 in 10 Americans See Climate Change Effects Locally

A recent national survey found that the majority of Americans see evidence of climate change effects locally, while many said it’s affected their lives.


Those who believe climate change is real stress that policymakers must think globally, and act locally. Local governments are pledging to combat climate change effects, with hundreds of mayors and U.S. cities signed onto various climate action commitments.

According to the Pew Research Center, a majority of Americans say that they are seeing some climate change effects locally in their communities. The organization conducted national survey research from March 27-April 9 among 2,541 adults.

Of those surveyed, 76 percent say climate change is currently affecting the U.S. while six-in-ten (59 percent) said they believe climate change is affecting their local communities. For those that perceived climate change effects locally, they were asked if climate change has had a personal impact in their lives.

Overall, 31 percent said local climate change effects directly affected their personal lives, citing extreme weather -- including increasing frequency of severe storms -- droughts, floods and wildfires. Others suggested damage to plants, animals, landscape, human health and local infrastructure as impacting them personally.

The survey was also designed to assess opinions on national energy policy.

While the researchers found some partisan agreement on expanding solar and wind power initiatives, there was wide political divide over increasing fossil fuels through coal mining, hydraulic fracturing and offshore drilling for oil and natural gas. Pew indicated the recent survey results are consistent with the previous survey in 2016.

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Andrea Fox is Editor of and Senior Editor at Lexipol. She is based in Massachusetts.