70% of Americans Believe the Climate Is Changing (But Disagree About the Cause)
With 2015 recently confirmed to be the second-hottest year on record for the U.S., more Americans are acknowledging the reality of climate change. A new poll from Monmouth University found that 70 percent of Americans believe the earth’s climate is changing. However, only 27 percent agree with the scientific consensus that the change is mostly caused by human activity.
Polls can be tricky – an earlier survey by Republican pollsters found a much higher level of agreement about the role of humans. But taken together, surveys like this can give us useful insights into communication gaps and opportunities.
Overall, nearly 2 out of 3 respondents want action from leaders on the climate issue, which is promising. However, the survey found a large partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans on the seriousness of climate change, which reiterates the importance of reaching out to conservatives while avoiding partisan language.
Respondents also voiced support for solutions that focused on climate impacts, such as rising sea levels and extreme weather. We’ve learned that talking about preparation is an effective way to engage people on this issue, especially those who may be unconvinced about the causes of climate change.
Lastly, the survey found that 3 out of 4 young adults support climate action, showing them to be a very receptive audience for climate messages and one we need to encourage to raise their voices and demand solutions.
By Timothy Cama, contributor to The Hill
A new survey finds that 70 percent of Americans believe the climate is changing.
The poll from Monmouth University, released Tuesday, found a stark partisan divide on most issues surrounding climate change, including whether it is happening, how serious it is and what should be done about it.
The research, conducted mostly before nearly 200 nations voted last month in Paris on an international climate accord, found that Democrats (63 percent) are much more likely than Republicans (18 percent) to see climate change as a very serious issue.
The poll provides another piece of support for actions internationally and by President Obama to fight climate change. Obama’s main climate policy, contentious new limits on carbon emissions from power plants, is due to be litigated this year in federal courts.
But the support is complicated. Pollsters found that only 27 percent of respondents agree with the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity is the main cause of climate change.
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