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COP22 is Opening in Morocco but What Has Been Learnt From COP21 Agreements?

197 countries, including the United States, have already signed the Paris agreements after the United Nations COP21 conference on climate change. With Donald Trump promising to pull the US out from these agreements, what place do US citizens give to environmental issues?

A new survey by ReportLinker shows that climate skeptics are fewer and fewer in the US. Three quarters of US citizens interviewed agree that human activities are the main cause of climate change.

The environment industry is an important subject for the US respondents, especially pollution. Air and water pollution are most often mentioned as worrying environmental issues (resp. 68% and 67% of mentions). However, Americans are much less concerned about over-consumption (33% of mentions), even though they would actually need 4 Earths to sustain their consumption needs

With new talks beginning this week in Morocco, the communication about past Paris agreements should be improved. Only 22% of US respondents are familiar with them.

Moreover, the political willingness to turn commitments into actions is perceived differently by the US population. More than half (53%) of US respondents are skeptical while 47% are optimistic about the possibility that political actions could be effectively undertaken.

Americans are particularly aware of their weighty environmental impact as top carbon emitters. More than two-thirds of US respondents (72%) classify the country in the top 10, with 37% of them answering correctly, especially Millennials (43%). The US is the second largest emitter after China.

Awareness may drive actions. Individually, Americans try to avoid negative environmental consequences.Shutting off lights in unused rooms (27% of mentions) and trying to reduce consumption, to reuse and to recycle (24% of mentions) are the most popular actions US respondents undertook to reduce their carbon footprint. Other behaviors are also adopted by a majority of US respondents : limiting their waste of food (15%), reducing their use of water (14%) and buying Energy Star home appliances (13%).

Contrary to other generations who are more likely to buy Energy Star appliances (17%), Millennials are acting on their transport habits. They are more likely to bike to work (7% of mentions), to carpool (15% of mentions) or even to use public transportation (10% of mentions).

 

This survey conducted by ReportLinker reached 508 online respondents representative of the US population and aged above 18 years old. Interviews conducted between October 28th and October 31st.