Around three-quarters of millennial generation respondents (roughly, adults now under 40) on recent surveys agree with the scientific consensus that climate change is happening now and caused mainly by human activities. Although young adults tend to be more liberal, and express greater trust in science, those factors do not account for the generation gap on climate change.3 Other possible explanations include the relatively recent emergence of climate change as a major issue, during millennials’ formative years, or the longer time horizons of young adults.
1. USGCRP, 2017: Climate Science Special Report: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume I [D.J. Wuebbles, D.W. Fahey, K.A. Hibbard, D.J. Dokken, B.C. Stewart, and T.K. Maycock (eds.)]. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA, doi: 10.7930/J0J964J6, https://science2017.globalchange.gov/.
2. L.C. Hamilton, J. Hartter, M. Lemcke-Stampone, D.W. Moore, and T.G. Safford, “Tracking public beliefs about anthropogenic climate change,” PLOS ONE 10(9) (2015): e0138208, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0138208.
3. L.C. Hamilton, “Public awareness of the scientific consensus on climate,” Sage Open (2016), doi: 10.1177/2158244016676296.