Speed Reads

Climate change

Obama's climate change challenge: Americans just don't care

Alex Wong/Getty Images

A White House climate change report released Tuesday is packed with dire warnings about how America is already suffering from the disastrous consequences of rising temperatures. Yet a huge share of the public will likely greet the news with either an emphatic shrug, or a raised eyebrow.

And there's the problem for Obama when it comes to his oft-promised "pivots" to address climate change: A bunch of Americans either don't care about the issue, or think it's overblown.

Only about one-third of Americans say they worry a "great deal" about climate change, per Gallup. Meanwhile, the share of adults who think the threat of global warming is exaggerated has risen over the past two decades. And as global warming skepticism has evolved into a cottage industry — especially on the right — more and more Americans have decided the phenomenon isn't even real.

So though Obama may want to do something about climate change, Americans by wide margins would prefer that he focus his energy on a range of economic and foreign policy issues instead.