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Half of Americans Say US Government Not Doing Enough on Climate Change

RESEARCH Public Opinion Survey by Dina Smeltz, Craig Kafura, and Liz Deadrick
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New Chicago Council Survey results show that most Americans aren’t extremely concerned about climate change, but many believe the government isn’t doing enough to combat the issue.

Key Findings

Half of Americans (50%) say the U.S. government is not doing enough to deal with the problem of climate change, according to new survey results from The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. This is up five percentage points from 2012, when a plurality (45%) said the government was not doing enough. Three in ten (31%) say the government is doing about the right amount, while two in ten (19%) say it is doing too much.

Some of the actions Americans would endorse include increasing tax incentives to encourage the development and use of alternative energy sources, such as solar or wind power (73%) and requiring automakers to increase fuel efficiency even if this increases the price of cars (69%). A large majority of Americans (71%) also support the U.S. participating in a "new international treaty to address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions."

This data is pulled from the 2014 Chicago Council Survey report, Foreign Policy in the Age of Retrenchment, which finds solid public support for the United States having an "active" role in world affairs.

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About the Authors
Senior Fellow, Public Opinion and Foreign Policy
Headshot for Dina Smeltz
Dina Smeltz, a polling expert, has more than 25 years of experience designing and fielding international social and political surveys. Prior to joining the Council to lead its annual survey of American attitudes on US foreign policy, she served in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the US State Department's Office of Research from 1992 to 2008.
Headshot for Dina Smeltz
Assistant Director, Public Opinion and Foreign Policy
Council expert Craig Kafura
Craig Kafura is the assistant director for public opinion and foreign policy at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, a Security Fellow with the Truman National Security Project, and a Pacific Forum Young Leader. At the Council, he coordinates work on public opinion and foreign policy and is a regular contributor to the public opinion and foreign policy blog Running Numbers.
Council expert Craig Kafura
Liz Deadrick
Intern, Studies, Chicago Council on Global Affairs