Survey: While some Western states lag, vast majority of Americans believe climate change is real
Results of a recent national survey show strong majorities of Americans believe climate change is real, human-caused and a cause for concern.
When asked if global warming is happening, 74% of over 1,000 people surveyed said yes, with most expressing high confidence. Just 15% said it wasn’t. Those are some of the key results from Climate Change in the American Mind, a years-long joint project of Yale University and George Mason University.
Researchers also found substantial support for a number of policies to tackle climate change, like regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant – a measure that 75% of registered voters and even 42% of conservative Republicans support.
“There's actually a surprising degree of consensus among voters,” said Ed Maibach, head of George Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication and one of the survey’s principal investigators. “The fact that there is a conflict among our elected officials, that's a different issue.”
Results from previous surveysreveal significant regional variation. Several Western states showed weaker majorities on questions like whether global warming will harm future generations.
Maibach chalked that up to the conservative politics of some Western states.
“In the case of Wyoming, it's both a partisan identity thing, and it's the fact that coal and other other fossil fuel resources are a big part of their economy,” he said.
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, KUNC in Colorado and KANW in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
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