American Concern about Climate Change Surges to Record High

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A record number of Americans know that global warming is happening, and the majority of them understand that humans are causing it, a new study released Tuesday found.

Asked about the cause of global warming, on the assumption that it is happening, 62% of respondents said that it is caused mostly by human activities, 23% said that it is caused mostly by natural changes in the environment, 8% opted for "neither because global warming isn't happening", and 6% volunteered that it was a mix of human activities and natural causes.

"Despite Big Oil's ongoing multi-billion dollar deception campaign, people across America are bearing the real costs of the climate crisis, so it's no surprise we're more concerned than ever".

Around three-quarters of Americans are on board with climate change, but that doesn't mean they're all willing to do something about it. It surveyed 1,114 American adults from November to December. According to the Yale survey, 73 percent of Americans accept that climate change is happening, and over half are very sure about that fact. That's ten percent higher than what it was in 2015.

"Global warming used to be viewed as a problem distant in time and space", said report co-lead researcher Ed Maibach, a climate change and public health communications expert at George Mason University.

"The thing that is most encouraging in these polls is that they show the public has now become aware that climate change is here and now", Bob Inglis, executive director of RepublicEN, an organization encouraging conservatives to respond to climate change, told NBC News. Roughly half think they'll personally be hurt by global warming, but even more think that others will bear the brunt of the damage - especially future generations and the poor. Nearly half also support a carbon tax, and more than half support that tax if the money went to an environmental cause or renewable energy research. Fewer would support such a tax if the money were returned to taxpayers as a rebate or went to pay down federal debt. However, if the monthly charge increased to $10 a month, just 28 percent would be supportive, while 68 percent would be opposed.

Also grabbing public attention were two 2018 reports that emphasized the urgency of responding to global warming.

All those factors contributed to significant changes in perceptions of global warming in the USA, according to the authors of a new public opinion survey.

Trump was first to weigh in, joking in a weekend tweet that because of the cold weather, it'd be nice "to have a little of that good old fashioned Global Warming right now!"

"It has been shown he is the most divisive president in modern history", Lewiserowitz said, "so when he speaks up in that way, it pushes many Americans in exactly the opposite direction".

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