Four out of ten would be willing to join a campaign to convince elected officials to “do the right thing” about global warming

June 19, 2013 (New Haven, CT) – A new national survey finds that half of Americans consider the environmental impact of the products and services they purchase (52 percent do so “very consistently,” “often,” or “occasionally”) while fewer have engaged in political action to fight global warming.

“Many Americans care about the environmental impact of their purchases and have already purchased an energy-efficient appliance or fuel efficient car,” said lead report author Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz of Yale University. “And, importantly, a solid majority of Americans intend to buy these items the next time they need one, indicating there is a strong market for products that save energy.”

The survey also found:

  • Nearly three in ten Americans (28 percent) say that, in the past 12 months, they have rewarded companies taking steps to reduce global warming by buying their products.
  • One in five (21 percent) say that in the past 12 months they have punished companies that oppose steps to reduce global warming by not purchasing their products.

“People aren’t just speaking with their pocketbooks,” said report co-author Dr. Ed Maibach of George Mason University. “Many are also talking to their friends and family about companies they feel have poor environmental records.”

In the past 12 months:

  • One in four Americans (26 percent) discussed what they see as a company’s irresponsible environmental behavior with friends or family.
  • One in ten (10 percent) spread information about offending companies over the Internet.

Dr. Maibach continued, “Many Americans also say they are willing to get politically involved. In fact, four in ten say they would be willing to join a campaign to convince elected officials to do ‘the right thing’ about global warming.”

The report can be downloaded here: Americans’ Actions to Limit Global Warming, April 2013

The survey was conducted by researchers at the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center on Climate Change Communication. Respondents comprise 1,045 Americans age 18 and over randomly drawn from GfK’s nationally-representative Knowledge Panel. All surveys were self-administered online April 8-15, 2013. The average margin of error for the total sample is plus or minus 3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

The research was funded by the Surdna Foundation, the 11th Hour Project, the Grantham Foundation, and the V.K. Rasmussen Foundation.

Questions about the survey findings and method may be addressed to:

Anthony Leiserowitz, 203-432-4865, [email protected]

Edward Maibach, 301-461-8601, [email protected]

Geoff Feinberg, 203-432-7438, [email protected]

Lynsy Smithson-Stanley, 646-559-8284, [email protected]org