Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight put up an image that illustrates the findings of a recent survey by George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication.This inverted pyramid shows the percent of those polled who said they think global warming will hurt each group “a great deal” or “a moderate amount”:
So as we see, the closer the question got to the person answering the survey, the less severe they thought the impacts of global warming were likely to be. Silver says,
These beliefs are not necessarily irrational. Climate change probably will have more impact on the developing world than the developed one, and it almost certainly will have more impact on our children than it does on ourselves.
But if individuals don’t perceive climate change to really have negative consequences for them or their families, they may not support climate change policies if they fear those policies will hurt jobs/business in the short-term, since they may be more likely to see the economic impacts as personally problematic.
UPDATE: An anonymous commenter pointed out that the 538 pyramid is a bit misleading. Brad Johnson at Wonk Room created a more representative one:
Thanks for the tip!