New study suggests that the majority of Americans are unaware of health impacts from climate change

Center for Climate Change Communication
George Mason University 
Fall 2014
 
This report is based on findings from a nationally representative survey – Climate Change in the American Mind– conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication. Interview dates: October 17-28, 2014. Interviews: 1,275 Adults (18+). Average margin of error: +/- 3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. The research was funded by the 11th Hour Project, the Energy Foundation, the Grantham Foundation, and the V.K. Rasmussen Foundation.
 
In our new report, Public Perceptionsof the Health Consequences of Global Warming, we find that Americans are generally unaware of potential health consequences of global warming. When asked what global warming-related health problems,  if any, Americans are experiencing, only about one in four respondents (27%) were able to name at least one health problem known to be related to global warming.
 
Moreover, with the exception of respiratory problems including asthma and other lung diseases (14%) and ilness, injuy, and death caused by extreme weather (6%), fewer than 5% of Americans identified any other known health risks of global warming, which include, among other illnesses, insect and water-borne diseases and heat stroke.
 
The survey also found that only one in three Americans (32%) correctly understands that global warming disproportionally harms the most vulnerable members of our society. Young children, the elderly, lower-income Americans, the sick, racial and ethnic minorities- these are just some groups of Americans that are especially vulnerable to health impacts of global warming. Most Americans don't yet know that climate change threatens human health. This suggests the need for a public health education campaign to help Americans understand the health risks of climate change.