A whopping 73% of Americans think there is “solid evidence” of global climate change, according to the results of a recent report by National Surveys on Energy and the Environment (NSEE). It’s the highest number of US citizens acknowledging climate change since the survey began in 2008, reports Grist.
Of those, a record 60% of Americans now think that humans are at least partially responsible for the rising temperatures.
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The survey was conducted during the record hot May of this year, according to EcoWatch, when temperatures spiked across the country.
“There's lots of evidence that contemporary weather is a contributing factor to belief in climate change," said Chris Borick, director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion and coauthor of the report, in an interview with the Guardian.
"But there are other factors,” he continued. “People are telling us they are experiencing a climate that isn't what they remember in the past and the evidence itself, such as declining polar ice, is having an effect. Americans are moving to a lot more confident space on this."
Hot temperatures have persisted throughout the US since the survey was conducted, with Los Angeles hitting a monthly overnight record of 79 degrees Fahrenheit on July 7, and nearby Chino registering a record temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, Death Valley in California reached 125.6 degrees Fahrenheit the following day, according to the Guardian.
As a result, extreme weather may be moving the needle toward renewable energies and mass reduction of emissions.
“In general, having Americans accept the existence of climate change is a necessary condition for policy action,” said Borick in a subsequent interview with Grist.
Evidence suggests that climate change deniers as a group are in sharp decline. Members of the Republican party that previously referred to climate change as “a hoax” have recently shifted their talking points away from denying the existence of rising temperatures to discussing the cost of mitigation and who should pay for it.
Just 15% of those sampled in the NSEE study believed the climate was not changing at all, noted the report.
“That’s the lowest percentage since we started the survey,” said Barry Rabe, coauthor of the report and professor at the University of Michigan.