December 3, 2015 | By Dina Smeltz, Craig Kafura

Climate Concerns on the Rise

The COP21 talks continue in Paris this week, aiming to negotiate an international agreement on climate change. While Democrats and Republicans are at opposite ends of the spectrum in prioritizing climate change, Chicago Council Surveys going back to 2002 have shown longstanding public support for an international treaty to address the problem. And while still a minority, an increasing percentage of Americans support taking immediate action on climate change.

Nearly four in ten Americans (37%), an increase of eight percentage points since 2010, say that climate change is a serious and pressing problem, and that we should begin taking steps now even if this involves significant costs. Both Democrats and Independents have become more likely to support immediate action on climate change over the past five years. In 2010, only a plurality (49%) of Democrats favored immediate action on climate change; today, a majority (56%) believe we should. Independents have seen an even bigger shift: today, four in ten (40%) support taking steps on climate change now, up from only two in ten (23%) in 2010. Most Republicans remain split over whether the problem of climate change should be dealt with gradually (43%), or whether climate change is really a problem (44%)—a position shared by few Democrats (13%) and Independents (22%).
For more details on American public opinion and climate change, see the latest Chicago Council Survey brief.


The Chicago Council on Global Affairs highlights critical shifts in American public thinking on US foreign policy through public opinion surveys and research conducted under the Lester Crown Center on US Foreign Policy. 

The annual Chicago Council Survey, first conducted in 1974, is a valuable resource for policymakers, academics, media, and the general public. The Council also surveys American leaders in government, business, academia, think tanks, and religious organizations biennially to compare trends in their thinking with overall trends. And collaborating with partner organizations, the survey team periodically conducts parallel surveys of public opinion in other regions of the world to compare with US public opinion. 

The Running Numbers blog features regular commentary and analysis from the Council’s public opinion and US foreign policy research team, including a series of flash polls of a select group of foreign policy experts to assess their opinions on critical foreign policy topics driving the news.


| By Craig Kafura

Americans and Asia in 2020: Three Things to Know

With the US election drawing near, all eyes are on the United States and the choices the public is about to make. As Americans go to the polls, here are three key things to know about American views of Asia and the key issues in the region.