Acceptance of Climate Change Is At a New High – Here’s How to Keep It Going

Munich Re poll resultsAccording to a new poll conducted by reinsurance giant Munich Re, 83 percent of Americans now believe that climate change is occurring. The findings, summarized in this USA TODAY article, show that acceptance is at a tipping point, and non-believers are becoming a small minority.
 
The poll also found that 71 percent of Americans think alternative energy is our most effective weapon against climate change. However, only around 60 percent say they believe climate change is caused by human activity. Since people are more willing to change their habits if they think global warming is man-made, it’s important to close that gap.
 
Our own research has found that Americans support opinions shared by their “tribes” – their families, their pastor, their neighbors, and other community groups. Science alone doesn’t trump the priorities of their tribe, but if they see their trusted leaders addressing climate change, they are more inclined to listen.
 
How we explain the causes of climate change can impact acceptance, too. Scientific numbers and statistics don’t mean much to people who aren’t trained in science, so they don’t create an emotional response. We can make the science meaningful by talking about it on a human, local scale, and pointing to facts that are easily observed, like an increase in drought or floods.
 
We’ve also discovered that the idea of preparedness tends to resonate with Americans, even if they aren’t convinced about climate change. Appealing to those values can help motivate people to action.
 
Find out how we’re supporting people and organizations who want to lead on climate solutions. For more ways to engage people on climate issues, check out our new guide, Connecting on Climate: A Guide to Effective Climate Change Communication, due out on December 11.
 

Poll: 83% of Americans Say Climate Is Changing

Doyle Rice, Contributor to USA TODAY
 
Eight out of 10 Americans now believe the climate is changing, according to a new survey conducted for Munich Re America, the world’s largest reinsurance firm.
 
“Our survey findings indicate that national sentiment over whether or not climatic changes are occurring has finally reached a tipping point,” said Tony Kuczinski, president of Munich Re America.
 
The survey’s release today coincides with negotiations among more than 190 countries that got underway this month in Lima, Peru, on a long-elusive global climate accord that’s supposed to be adopted next year in Paris.
 
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Image credit: Munich Re America

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