While most Americans believe climate change exist, only 34 percent of them think it harms them. That’s one of the findings that has emerged thanks to analysis of a new interactive map launched by a group of researchers at Yale.
The map took data from years of research on public opinion regarding climate change and compiled it into an easy-to-use map. Results of analysis on the map have proven surprising.
Most Americans – 63 percent – believe that global warming is happening. In each individual state, more than 50 percent of residents also agree its happening. But when asked more specific questions about climate change, the consensus breaks down.
While the majority of Americans do say that they are worried about global warming, only 42 percent think it is already harming people in the US, and only 34 percent believe that global warming will harm them personally.
Despite the initial consensus, just 48 percent of Americans think that climate change is caused by human activities, even though the “most authoritative body of scientists, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC], affirmed last year that humans ‘have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century,” Bloomberg reported.
In fact, most Americans don’t even realize that nearly all scientists agree with the IPCC. Just 41 percent believe that most scientists think climate change is happening.
Despite the lack of fear of global warming’s effects, most Americans do support policy to reverse the effects. About 77 percent of Americans support funding more research into renewable energy, and 74 percent support regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant.
Americans also support regulations on power plants and companies. Sixty-three percent say there should be strict carbon dioxide limits on existing coal plants, and 61 percent support requiring utilities to get 20 percent of their energy from renewable resources.
What this data shows is that the majority of Americans believe climate change is real and support the expansion of renewable sources, which is a step in the right direction. It also shows that Americans need to be educated on the current and imminent dangers of global warming. They need to know that scientists have already agreed climate change is real, and its our fault.