Global warming is now a cause of concern for Americans even much more than before. According to a new survey, a record number of Americans started believing in climate change and worried about how it’s going to affect their lives at present.
The report found, around 73 percent of Americans polled previous year felt that global warming was happening, and there is a jump of 3 points since March last and 10 percentage points from 2015.
There is a sharp increase in the number of Americans feeling the importance of global warming in their individual life and that is a record nine percentage points jump to 72% since March.
A survey was conducted online in November and December by Ipsos polling 1,114 adult Americans which is the latest in a series from the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
According to the director of the Yale program, Anthony Leiserowitz, the results suggest climate change is no more hypothetical for a vast majority of Americans.
“It is something that is activating an emotion in people, and that emotion is worry,” he said. As per the survey, 69 percent of Americans were “worried” about an eight-point increase in warming, since March.
Dr.Leiserowitz said, “People are beginning to understand that climate change is here in the United States, here in my state, in my community, affecting the people and places I care about, and now.” He also added, “This isn’t happening in 50 years, 100 years from now.”
On asking, 48 percent of the American respondents agreed to the harm caused by the global warming to the people in the United States “right now,” with an increase of nine percentage points since March. Moreover, 49 percent of them believed that global warming would personally harm them with a jump of seven-point over the same period.
“I’ve never seen jumps in some of the key indicators like this,” Dr.Leiserowitz said. There was fluctuation in the public opinion on climate issues over the years, but most of the recent changes were huge to fall outside the error margin of plus or minus three percentage points.
Dr.Leiserowitz attributed the recent increase in the number on Americans’ growing understanding of global warming to the occurrence of many extreme weather events having plausible connections with the warming of the planet, and to the publicity arose from two major scientific reports on climate change previous year.
The reports from the United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change and the United States government, emphasized on the grim prospects for the future unless they act immediately to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions warming the planet.
Interestingly, the changes in public opinion over the last year have a close relation with politics and inversely related with the President Trump’s non-acceptance of the scientific evidence of climate change.
“Every time he talks about climate change he drives more media attention to the exact issue,” Dr.Leiserowitz said. He found Mr.Trump’s approach to politics to be immensely divisive when he takes a strong stand on climate change and other issues, “He tends to drive a majority of the country in the opposite direction.”
In a poll with a four-point rise since March, a record 62 percent of respondents accepted the very fact that humans are the primary cause of climate change.
Around two-thirds of the Americans surveyed, believed global warming was affecting weather in the US and about half of them accepted the fact that warming made wildfires in the West and Hurricanes Florence and Michael of last year worse. The fact that warming can make hurricanes more destructive and wildfires more frequent is now well established.
A climate scientist at Texas Tech University and not involved in the survey, Katharine Hayhoe said:
Today, nearly everyone can point to a way that they are personally witnessing and are being personally affected by the impacts of a changing climate in the places where they live.
Sunshine Menezes, an expert in climate communication at the University of Rhode Island and executive director of the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting, noted that 41 percent of respondents in the poll said they discuss global warming with family and friends “often” or “occasionally,” and 56 percent said they heard the topic at least once a month in the news media, which accounts for a 13 percent increase since 2015.
Dr.Menezes said, “It’s becoming harder and harder to avoid conversations about climate change.” She added, “I’m just thrilled that it’s happening.” Thus, global warming and its effects are increasingly becoming the part of the national discussion.