A record heat wave, drought and catastrophic wildfires are accomplishing what climate scientists could not: convincing a wide swath of Americans that global temperatures are rising.
In the four months since March there has been a jump in U.S. citizens’ belief that climate change is taking place, especially among independent voters and those in southern states such as Texas, which is now in its second year of record drought, according to nationwide polls by the University of Texas.
In a poll taken July 12-16, 70 percent of respondents said they think the climate is changing, compared with 65 percent in a similar poll in March. Those saying it’s not taking place fell to 15 percent from 22 percent, according to data set to be released this week by the UT Energy Poll.
While the survey didn’t ask about the causes of climate change, Sheril Kirshenbaum, the poll director, said “there is no debate” that man-made carbon emissions are warming the planet. “We need to get beyond arguing if it’s occurring and start developing policies to adapt to extreme weather events and rising sea levels.”
The jump in public opinion over the past four months took place in southern states, including drought-ravaged Texas, where it climbed 13 percentage points to 70 percent this month, according to the poll. Other areas of the country showed modest variations in levels of support.
The latest University of Texas poll also found a sharp divide between political parties, with 87 percent of Democrats saying climate change is taking place compared with 53 percent of Republicans. In March 45 percent of Republican respondents said climate change is happening.
Among independent voters, those saying temperatures are rising jumped to 72 percent in July from 60 percent in March.
Read the full article here and I’ll have more on these new poll results soon.