Saturday, March 19, 2016

Americans No Longer Doubt Climate Change

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The scientific community has been unequivocal about climate change for many years. The consensus view is that human's are causing climate change as a result of greenhouse gas pollution and that we are already feeling the impact with our unusual weather. We are also already seeing sea level rise in many parts of the world. These impacts will accelerate in the coming years. We are also likely to see shifts in agriculture and ecosystems. You can read the latest scientific assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change here. If you take the time to read it, you will see why scientists cringe when we hear politicians state that they don't believe in climate change or that it is not caused by human activity. The evidence is really overwhelming.

For decades, some Americans in positions of political or cultural prominence loudly pushed back against the scientific consensus. Many of these individuals had strong ties to traditional energy companies. They were able to impact public opinion to the point that it has been impossible to get the U.S. congress to budge on any climate change policy. In some states, legislatures have made it illegal for workers to discuss climate change in efforts to impact public opinion.

While these efforts may have slowed the acceptance of climate change in the general public, a new Gallop Poll of the American public demonstrates that 64% of Americans are worried a great deal or a fair amount about global climate change and that 65% of Americans believe that climate change is caused by human activity.  The poll demonstrates that Americans have shifted significantly in their viewpoints on climate change. 

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