Poll: AP-NORC/EPIC: Majority of Americans Concerned About Climate Change

At a time when the majority of Americans view the deteriorating climate with high importance, President Joe Biden will be heading to an important U.N. Climate Summit. This is an increase in concern from just a few short years ago.

Poll: AP-NORC/EPIC: Majority of Americans Concerned About Climate Change

According to a survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 66% of Americans believe global warming is increasing.

Biden is struggling to pass important climate legislation in the United States ahead of next week’s U.N. Climate Summit. The new AP/NORC/EPIC poll shows that 55% want Congress to pass a bill that ensures that more electricity is generated from clean energy, and less from climate-damaging natural gas and coal.

Only 16% Americans are against such a bill for electricity from cleaner sources. Similar legislation was initially one of the most important pieces of climate legislation Biden had before Congress. Biden's proposal that utilities be rewarded for using clean energy and punish those who do not met with objections from Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, left fellow Democrats scrambling for other ways to reduce pollution from fossil fuels.

It's a frustrating delay for some Americans to deal with an urgent problem.

Nancy Reilly, a Missouri Democrat, said that science shows the signs are there. She's retired from 40 years of retail management and is worried about her children's future as the climate changes. It's already here. What was the first thing they started to water down in order to get this bill passed? Climate change."

Reilly stated, "It's just maddening." "I get it, I understand it. It's all too much for me.

The Biden administration had hoped to negotiate significant emissions cuts to reduce the global rise in temperatures after President Donald Trump pulled the United States from the Paris climate agreement. It's not clear if Biden will be in a position to pass any major climate legislation through Congress before Sunday's U.N. summit.

All told, 59% of Americans stated that the Earth's temperature rise is very or extremely important to their concerns, up from 49% in 2018. Five-four percent of Americans said that scientists had a significant influence on their views on climate change. Nearly half as many (51%) stated that recent extreme weather events such as hurricanes, deadly heat spells, wildfires, and other natural disasters have influenced their views.

The climate has been affected by pollution from gasoline and diesel engines, power stations, and other sources over the past 60 years. This has led to extreme weather conditions.

Leaf-peeper websites in east Tennessee's Smoky Mountain warn fall foliage tourists that it is taking leaves longer to change from green to red than usual. This is not a sign of climate change, but a typical example of the changes Americans are witnessing as the Earth heats.

"Normally, you get the four seasons: fall, spring and winter. It goes in that order. "But lately, it hasn't been that," stated Jeremy Wilson, a 42 year-old independent voter who works at a scenic chairlift park that takes people to the tops of the Smoky Mountains. It's been hotter or colder.

The poll revealed that 75% of Americans believe climate change is occurring, and 10% think it isn't. 15% remain unsure.

54% of those who believe it is occurring say it's mostly or entirely caused by human activities, compared to 14% who believe it's caused by natural environmental changes. A further 32% believe it is a combination of natural and human factors.

While Democrats are more likely to believe that climate change is occurring than Republicans, the majority of both parties agree it is. This is 89% for Democrats, and 57% for Republicans.

The poll also measured Americans' willingness and ability to pay for climate-wrecking pollutants as well as the costs of mitigating their consequences.

50-2% said they would support a $1 per month carbon fee on their energy bills to combat climate change. However, support for the fee is decreasing as it increases.

Krystal Chivington (46-year-old Republican from Delaware) said, "I would say like 5, 10 dollars as long as it is really being used for the intended purpose." She credits her 17 year-old daughter with bringing back her passion for combating climate change and pollution.

Mark Sembach, a 59 year-old Montana Democrat who works as an environmental remediation specialist, stated that it is not the ordinary consumer who should pay to prevent the worst outcomes of climate change.

Sembach stated that he believes the responsibility should fall on responsible corporations, which unfortunately most corporations aren’t. "And I believe there should be a lot more pushback about who pays for this."

The AP-NORC poll, which included 5,468 adults, was conducted September 8-24. It used a combination of interviews from the NORC probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel and opt-in online panels. All respondents have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 1.7 percent. AmeriSpeak panel members are randomly selected using address-based sampling methods. Respondents were then interviewed online or over the phone.

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