There are some areas where the six groups are in more agreement than others. Majorities of the alarmed, concerned, cautious and disengaged say that they support requiring new homes to be more energy efficient, and changing zoning rules to reduce car use, for example.
There also is a disconnect shared between the groups about trust in climate scientists, versus what those scientists actually believe. Three-quarters of Americans, for example, said they trust the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and scientists broadly as sources of information on the issue.
At the same time, only the "alarmed" and "concerned" recognized that the majority of climate scientists agree that humans are causing climate change. And among those groups, their understanding of the level of scientific agreement was inaccurate.
Less than a majority -- or 44 percent -- of the alarmed correctly said that more than 80 percent of climate scientists agree that climate change is caused mostly by human activities.
One of the most significant findings is that high percentages of Americans -- or roughly a third -- say that they could easily change their minds about global warming, said Tom Bowman, president of the consulting firm Bowman Global Change, who has examined how climate scientists communicate to the public. That means that there is room for a shifting of the numbers, particularly if the news media would make it clearer that there was high agreement among climate scientists, he said.
"Lack of news coverage keeps people uncertain and actually facilitates the efforts of those who are working to foster doubt," Bowman said.
The survey was conducted April 23 through May 21 with 981 adults. The margin of error was plus or minus three percentage points.
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500