Topline

As high-temperature records fall across the United States and the globe in a series of summer heat waves, a new Gallup report found environmental concerns vary widely along the partisan divide, with older Republicans less concerned than they’ve been in two decades, while a vast majority of Democrats and Independents are concerned at least a fair amount.

Key Facts

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Older Republicans were least concerned with the environment, with 46% of Republicans 55 and older, and 52% ages 35 to 54 concerned “a great deal” or “a fair amount,” according to the report, which was based on data collected between 2019 and 2022.

23% of Republicans 55 and older believe climate change will never happen, while 35% say it will happen, but not in their lifetime and 29% believe it’s already begun, compared to 78% of Democrats 55 and older.

Concern among Republicans ages 18 to 34 was significantly greater, with 69% saying they were concerned at least a fair amount, compared to nearly 90% of Democrats across all age groups, including 64% that said they were worried a great deal.

Only 14% of Republicans 55 and older are concerned “a great deal” (down from 23% between 2006 and 2010) about the environment, compared to 32% of Republicans ages 18 to 34.

Concern among Independents has been steadily increasing since 2001, with moderate variation between age groups, as 83% of people ages 18 to 34 said they were concerned at least a fair amount, compared to 72% of people 35 to 54 and 68% of people 55 and older.

Gallup’s report comes days after more than 85 million Americans faced excessive heat warnings, as an “extremely oppressive” heat wave left red and blue states across the South, Midwest and Northeast sweltering in temperatures.

Tangent

Last month, the Supreme Court voted along ideological lines to curb the EPA's regulatory authority around greenhouse gas emissions, ruling in favor of a group of Republican-led states and fossil fuel companies that argued the agency's authority under the Clean Air Act. The decision jeopardized the Biden administration's climate goal of a 50% to 52% reduction in economy-wide net greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, from 2005 levels.

Crucial Quotes

"As President, I have a responsibility to act with urgency and resolve when our nation faces clear and present danger, and that's what climate change is about," President Joe Biden said last week at a press conference in Massachusetts. “It is literally, not figuratively, a clear and present danger. The health of our citizens and our communities is literally at stake."

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