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February Storms vs. Western Wildfires: Public Acknowledgement of Link Between Disasters, Climate Change Has Waned


Despite their rarity and severity, the recent winter storms that led to widespread power outages in Texas and elsewhere in the country do not seem to have translated into an increase in the public’s association of recent disasters with climate change. Rather, the share of adults making the connection seems to have nudged down slightly in the last six months, according to a comparison of two Morning Consult polls.

In a March 5-8 poll asking U.S. adults how much climate change contributed to recent natural disasters “such as last month’s winter storms throughout Texas and elsewhere in the middle of the” country, a smaller share said climate change contributed “a lot” than they did in a September poll that ran during a record-breaking wildfire season: 31 percent versus 39 percent, respectively.

However, the majority reported at least some link in both cases; just 14 percent of March respondents said there was no connection at all.

The recent poll mirrored the structure of a Sept. 14-16 question that gave respondents the example of “wildfires in the West” in the midst of last year’s particularly brutal fire and hurricane season. During that period, 73 percent of adults said climate change contributed “a lot” or […]

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