The Climate is Changing and So Are Opinions About What To Do

The Monmouth University Poll released a report on climate opinions this week, findings that uncovered a shift in climate concern among Americans. Seventy percent of Americans agree that the climate is changing, a drastic uptick in concern for the climate that has experienced steady growth in recent years. Sixty-four percent of respondents agree that climate is a 'somewhat' or 'very' serious issue, with an equal percentage of people calling for government action on climate change.

With recent storms impacting much of the U.S., Americans are starting to realize the need for immediate action. But, as the poll indicates, these options are largely based on the groups with which we align, such as political affiliation. These findings suggest that leadership remains a crucial factor in forming our climate opinions and the time has never been greater for leaders of faith communities to ramp-up their climate discussions to break the political ties that sway our views.

For most Americans (roughly 80%), faith determines our values and climate change is unquestionably an issue of values. Faith leaders hold a unique opportunity to demonstrate to their congregation how critical climate action is to the religious teachings of all faith communities. 

Poll: 70 percent believe in climate change

Timothy Cama | The Hill

A new survey finds that 70 percent of Americans believe the climate is changing.

The poll from Monmouth University, released Tuesday, found a stark partisan divide on most issues surrounding climate change, including whether it is happening, how serious it is and what should be done about it.

The research, conducted mostly before nearly 200 nations voted last month in Paris on an international climate accord, found that Democrats (63 percent) are much more likely than Republicans (18 percent) to see climate change as a very serious issue.

The poll provides another piece of support for actions internationally and by President Obama to fight climate change. Obama’s main climate policy, contentious new limits on carbon emissions from power plants, is due to be litigated this year in federal courts.

But the support is complicated. Pollsters found that only 27 percent of respondents agree with the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity is the main cause of climate change.

“The data exposes the extent to which this has become a partisan political issue in the U.S. rather than a scientific issue,” Tony MacDonald, director of Monmouth University’s Urban Coast Institute, said in a statement accompanying the poll results.

The survey did find support for actions to stop climate change, though the questions were worded mostly to focus on the effects of global warming, like rising sea levels and increased extreme weather.

“The polling shows that Americans believe we are all very much in this together,” MacDonald said. “Nearly two thirds of all respondents and three quarters of younger adults want action from our leaders, even if some in Congress don’t believe there’s a problem.”

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