A new national survey on attitudes regarding climate change shows some slight improvement in public acceptance of the science.
By Ethan Elkind
E&E News reports [pay-walled]:
The percentage of Americans who say they believe in global warming — 73 percent — reached a record high, according to the National Surveys on Energy and Environment (NSEE) (Greenwire, July 10). However, that percentage is only slightly higher than it was in 2008, when NSEE first conducted the survey. In 2010, acceptance of global warming had sharply dropped.
The survey also found that a greater proportion of Americans believe human activity is to blame for warming — at least in part. An even 60 percent of respondents said they believe humans are either mostly or partially responsible for rising temperatures. That’s 2 percentage points higher than the previous record found in 2008, 2009 and 2017.
Per usual, partisan, tribal identity determines willingness to accept the science, although even on that front Republicans are showing improvement:
The party divide is even greater when looking at the role that humans play in warming. A record 78 percent of Democrats believe that global warming is occurring at least in part because of human activity, compared to just 35 percent of Republicans.
It’s worth highlighting, the report points out, that fewer Republicans today say humans are causing global warming compared to a decade ago.
While public opinion is not where it needs to be to support the clean-tech mobilization required to combat climate change, it’s encouraging to see some improvement.
Ethan Elkind directs the climate program at UC Berkeley Law, with a joint appointment at UCLA Law. His book “Railtown” was published by the University of California Press.
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