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Americans ‘Alarmed’ by Climate Change Double in Just 5 Years

Twenty-nine percent of respondents to the poll conducted last December by Yale and George Mason universities.

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Paris Climate Meet, Global Warming
A woman displays a placard during a demonstration in New York on June 1, 2017, to protest U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the 195-nation Paris climate accord deal. VOA

The proportion of Americans found to be “alarmed” by climate change has doubled in just five years, the pollsters behind a nationwide survey revealed on Tuesday.

Twenty-nine percent of respondents to the poll conducted last December by Yale and George Mason universities were in the alarmed category — an all-time high — and twice the percentage of those surveyed in 2013.

More than 1,100 adults across the United States were asked about their beliefs, attitudes and behaviors toward climate change.

The answers were then used to classify respondents into six groups, from dismissive, or least worried about climate change, to alarmed, for those most worried.

US, New York
FILE – People cool off at the Unisphere in Queens, New York, July 2, 2018. VOA

Those deemed dismissive of global warming represented 9 percent of respondents, a drop of five points compared to 2013.

‘Green New Deal’

The findings come amid a growing polarization of the political debate over the issue of global warming in the United States.

The decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to pull out of the Paris climate deal has fired up his base, while opponents have championed a “Green New Deal” that seeks to eliminate the nation’s heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions within a decade.

The 2015 Paris accord, agreed by nearly 200 nations, seeks to wean the global economy off fossil fuels in the second half of this century, limiting the rise in average temperatures to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times.

The increased visibility of global warming such debates generate could explain Americans’ rising concern, said Kenneth Sherrill, a political science professor emeritus at Hunter College in New York City.

New York, Climate
The climate in New York City in 60 years could feel like Arkansas now. Pixabay

“The more information you get there more interested that you are,” he said.

Academic research has further shown that growing exposure to bouts of extreme weather may also change minds, he added. “And it results in higher concern.”

Climate change influences economy

Climate change will cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century, hitting everything from health to infrastructure, according to a 2018 government report, the Fourth National Climate Assessment Volume II.

ALSO READ: Global Warming Could Change US Cities’ Climate by 2080- Study

Meanwhile, three of the five costliest hurricanes in the United States — Harvey, Maria and Irma — occurred in 2017, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, part of the U.S. Commerce Department. (VOA)

Next Story

Auckland City Recognizes Urgency for Action on Climate Change by Declaring Emergency

"Auckland's Climate Action Framework and the plan we develop from that is a critical part of meeting our responsibilities," Mayor Goff said

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climate emergency
Developing nations were facing the brunt of climate change despite their little contribution to the problem. Pixabay

Auckland city council voted to recognize the urgency for action on climate change by declaring a climate emergency on Wednesday. “By unanimously voting to declare a climate emergency we are signaling the council’s intention to put climate change at the front and centre of our decision making,” says Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, reported Xinhua news agency.

Members of Auckland Council’s Environment and Community Committee voted to join a growing community of cities around the world who have formally and publicly recognized the urgency for action on climate change by declaring a climate emergency.

Climate emergency
This combination of Dec. 13 and 17, 2018 photos shows downtown Salt Lake City during clear and an inversion day. VOA

“Our declaration further elevates the importance of an immediate national and global response to address our changing climate,” said Auckland City Councilor Penny Hulse, chair of the Environment and Community Committee.

ALSO READ: UN: 5.4 Million Face Food Shortage in Somalia Due to Climate-Related Droughts

Recent research commissioned by the Auckland city council showed that Auckland’s annual temperature is rising, rainfall patterns are changing, and coastlines are being increasingly impacted by ongoing sea level rise.

Auckland’s ambitious targets and leadership on tackling climate change have earned C40 Innovator City status from the global C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and the council is a signatory of the New Zealand Climate Leaders Coalition. “Auckland’s Climate Action Framework and the plan we develop from that is a critical part of meeting our responsibilities,” Mayor Goff said. (IANS)