Spike in Americans who believe climate change is threat

Mar 22, 2016, 3:36 PM EDT
Global Warming Day of Action at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, MN. (Source: Tony Webster/flickr)
Global Warming Day of Action at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, MN. (Source: Tony Webster/flickr)
A Gallup poll has found that the number of Americans that believe that climate change is not only real, but an active threat to the U.S., as well as it being human-driven has spiked over the last year. Quartz reports:
 
Forty-one percent of Americans believe global warming poses a serious threat to them or their way of life, the highest amount since polling firm Gallup started asking this question in 1997.
 
Why the sudden acceleration in concern? Perhaps because the poll follows the warmest winter on record in the US. Temperatures in the US were about 5°F above the 20th-century average, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
 
A record number of Americans (65%) Gallup polled blamed rising temperature over the last century on humans. The response was an increase of 10 percentage points in just a year, and is up 4 percentage points from 61% in 2007. Just 31% attributed global warming to natural causes, a record low in 15 years.
 
 
Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, tells The Christian Science Monitor in a phone interview that it has a lot to do with media coverage. 
 
“Most Americans don’t have direct access to information about climate change, so the way they learn about it is through the media,” says Dr. Leiserowitz. And in 2015, Pope Francis and the Paris climate summit “brought enormous attention” to the issue. “Paris helped shift the narrative, it wasn’t an international debate. It was an agreement on what’s happening with serious voluntary commitments by almost every nation.” 
 
 
Findings from Gallup also reveal that 63 percent of Americans said the weather in their local area was warmer than usual this winter. When they were asked what they attributed these temperatures to, more Americans ascribed the shift to climate change than normal variation. Gallup’s report noted that “a larger, more regionally and politically diverse group of Americans is reporting warmer temperatures this year.” Ten percent of Americans said winter was colder than usual than usual, while 26 percent said that the weather was relatively the same.
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