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Business and Policy Areas
Business and Policy Areas

New Facts Counter Environmental Myths

October 17, 2013

Public perception has shifted over the years, with more people now believing climate change caused by humans has begun to impact everyone. That finding, among others, emerges from New Facts — Old Myths: Environmental Polling Trends, recently released by ecoAmerica.

For the report, ecoAmerica—a strategic alliance whose supporters include the MacArthur Foundation and Linden Trust for Conservation and Higher Education—gathered and analyzed environmental polls from a variety of sources. The data, compiled from 2013 surveys done by Gallup, Yale University, University of Michigan, Stanford University, Pew, Rasmussen, ecoAmerica Climate Impacts, and others, refutes such myths as:

  • Only liberal regions of the United States believe climate change is occurring. In fact, belief in climate change registers at high levels in all regions of the country. How climate change impacts campuses, however, is a regional issue: Drought increases water costs, for example, and excessive rain or snow may require more culverts or other wetland mitigation for surface parking lots.
  • All climate change advocates are white environmentalists. To the contrary, data reveal more people of color concerned about climate than whites—by double digits. Specifically, 86 percent of African Americans said they wanted the President to take "significant steps" to address climate change now, compared to 76 percent of Latinos and 60 percent of Caucasians (NLCV poll, Feb 2013). The report even notes the majority (70 percent) of Americans who hunt and fish want the country to cut its carbon emissions.
  • Americans don't want government regulations and complex energy policies. Fact is, numerous polls show the majority of Americans support collectively dealing with national challenges.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the report indicates a strong partisan divide. According to Pew data from 2013, 87 percent of Democrats believe solid evidence exists that the earth is warming, compared to 69 percent of Independents and 44 percent of Republicans.
The 13-page document contains 17 charts, matrices, and graphs.


Sally Grans Korsh
Director, Facilities Management and Environmental Policy