‘A Tipping Point’: Record Number of Americans See Global Warming as Threat


A man at at a New York rally calling for action on climate change, a day before the start of the historic COP21 conference in Paris. Photograph: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

From Oliver Milman at That Guardian:

A record number of Americans believe global warming will pose a threat to their way of life, new polling data shows, amid strengthening public acceptance that rising temperatures are being driven by human activity.

“I think a shift in public opinion and consciousness has been underway for several years now,” Michael Mann, a prominent climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University, told the Guardian.

A spokesman for 350 Action, the political arm of climate activist group 350.org, said meanwhile that politicians who cast doubt on climate science would soon have to take such polling into account. Republicans, he said, “are going to be screwed if they don’t change their tune”.

Polling firm Gallup, which has been tracking public sentiment on the topic annually since 1997, found that 41% of US adults feel warming will pose a “serious threat” to them during their lifetimes. This is the highest level recorded by Gallup, a 4% increase on 2015.

A total of 64% of those polled said they worried about global warming a “great deal” or a “fair amount”, the highest level of recorded concern since 2008. Just 36% of Americans said they did not fret about it, or only worried a little.

The results show a solidifying belief that changes in the climate are under way, with 59% of people thinking so. A record 65% of Americans said global warming was down to greenhouse gases released by human activity – a 10% leap on last year.

Just 31% said the warming was due to natural causes, the lowest level of such skepticism in 15 years. The March polling involved more than 1,000 adults in all 50 states.

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