New Record: 65% of Americans Accept That Climate Change Is Caused by Human Activity
The U.S. may have reached an important tipping point for climate action. According to a new Gallup poll, concern about climate change is at its highest level in eight years, with 64 percent of respondents saying they worried “a great deal” about the warming planet.
Other climate opinions reached entirely new levels: 41 percent of those polled said they feel climate change will affect them during their lifetimes (a new high) and 65 percent said climate change was the result of human activity, an increase of 10 percent over last year.
Why such a big leap? As climate scientist Michael Mann points out in this Guardian article, the physical impacts of climate change have grown increasingly hard to ignore – or to blame on natural causes. “The overall warmth in recent years here in the US, Europe and worldwide is part of it,” he says. “But so too are the increasing number of destructive extreme weather events – floods, droughts, massive wildfires, extreme heat, unprecedented hurricanes … This puts a human face on the issue of climate change.”
While a partisan divide on the issue still remains, conservatives are also feeling more concerned, with nine percent more Republicans saying they were very worried compared to last year.
This is further evidence that, for many Americans, personal experience is more important than politics in shaping climate opinions. Now it’s up to us to take advantage of this growing awareness, and push for urgent action.
By Oliver Milman, environment reporter for the Guardian US
New polling data shows that public concern about climate change is at a new high, as the U.S. emerges from its warmest-ever winter
A record number of Americans believe global warming will pose a threat to their way of life, new polling data shows, amid strengthening public acceptance that rising temperatures are being driven by human activity.
“I think a shift in public opinion and consciousness has been underway for several years now,” Michael Mann, a prominent climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University, told the Guardian.
A spokesman for 350 Action, the political arm of climate activist group 350.org, said meanwhile that politicians who cast doubt on climate science would soon have to take such polling into account.
Image credit: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images