Consumer belief in climate change is on a serious upswing in 2012 after hitting a low in 2011. More Americans say global warming is real, see evidence of it in their area, and worry that it will have a significant negative impact on their life.
In fact, 38% of Americans now say global warming is a serious threat to them personally, up from 32% in 2010, and near the all time historic high of 40% in 2008.
This shift in views is not being driven by science, politics, or the media. Instead, it’s primarily due to the rash of extreme weather around the globe over the last 12 months.
A shockingly high 82% of the American public say they experienced a natural disaster or extreme weather in the past year. 35% assert they were personally harmed by the recent unusual weather. And, a strong majority believe those weather events were made worse by climate change.
Extreme weather transforms global warming in consumers’ minds from something that might happen some day (2050 or so) to other beings (polar bears) in other geographies (the North Pole) to something occurring now, in their community, and hurting them. Once climate change impacts people personally, they find it much easier to believe.
Scientists predict that the weather will get increasingly erratic in coming years. What are the strategic implications of more consumers embracing the threat of climate change?