A Perfect Storm: Record Hurricane Season & Demand for Climate Action Could Shape the Midterms

WASHINGTON, DC – Today marks the start of hurricane season, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts an above-average hurricane season for the seventh consecutive year. This is yet another example of why we need immediate bold climate action.

Climate pollution from Bil Oil is making storms more frequent and intense at an immense cost to millions of Americans and their livelihoods. Last year, hurricanes and tropical storms killed more than one hundred people in the U.S. and caused at least $80.2 billion in damages. The overwhelming majority of this devastation came from Hurricane Ida, a record-breaking storm that left a path of devastation from the Gulf region all the way up to coastal Maine, killing 96 people and raking up an economic toll of $76.5 billion. Ida’s sheer destruction highlights what the future holds if Congress fails to lower the emissions fueling the climate crisis.

Unfortunately, Americans have become all too accustomed to the more destructive and devastating hurricanes driven by the climate crisis. This new reality has driven the groundswell of grassroots support for climate action — in 2020, voters propelled climate champions to the White House and Congress, and now climate is expected to be a top issue in the midterm elections.

With 1 in 3 Americans experiencing extreme weather firsthand in the last two years, public support for climate action is at an all time high. Here is a roundup of recent polling showing how demand for climate action is shaping voters’ attitudes – and why climate could be the decisive issue in November:

  • As the midterms near, climate is a winning issue for Democrats. A strong bipartisan majority of voters (70%) think it’s important for Congress to address climate change.
    • If Congress fails to pass climate legislation, 15% of Democrats and more than a quarter Independents (28%) will be less motivated to vote for Democrats in November, jeopardizing already slim margins in the House and Senate that are imperative to pass climate legislation.
  •  A bipartisan majority of voters support expanding domestic clean energy production. A May 2022 Data for Progress poll found that 75% of voters (90% of Democrats, 77% of independents, and 57% of Republicans) support Congress making an investment to expand clean energy production in America.
  • Passing clean energy and climate legislation could shore up support for Democrats. Nearly half (46%) of voters say they would be more likely to vote for Democrats in November if Democrats in Congress “take action to expand clean energy production in America and address climate change,” according to a May 2022 Data for Progress poll.
    • This is even more important for younger voters: 58% of voters under 45 say action on climate and clean energy would make them more likely to support Democrats in the midterm elections.
  • Voters would not look favorably upon failure to pass clean energy legislation. Half of voters say they would be “disappointed” if Congress failed to pass a bill to expand clean energy production in America, while 44 percent say they would be “concerned” and 22 percent say they would be “angry.”
  • Personal experience with extreme weather is driving fears about climate change and spurring desire for immediate action. According to a recent CBS News and YouGov poll, 62% of Americans say their personal experience with extreme weather has made them more concerned about climate change.
    • Two-thirds of people who report living through a recent extreme weather event believe climate change should be addressed “right now.”

Our window to mitigate the worst consequences of the climate crisis is rapidly closing. Congress has the power to protect Americans from the most extreme impacts of climate change, but they must move quickly to drastically cut emissions by expanding clean energy tax credits. Inaction is simply not an option.