Two-thirds of Americans believe that climate change is either a crisis or a serious problem. A majority wants immediate action to combat global warming and its harmful consequences.
Amidst a democratic supremacy marked by unprecedented concern about the climate crisis and an insurgent youth climate movement affecting the world, the surveys show significant, albeit uneven, support for solving the problem.
More than a quarter of Americans polled in CBS News' new survey rates climate change as a "crisis," with another 36% defining it as a "serious problem." Two out of ten respondents said it was a minor problem and only 16% considered it not worrying at all.
More than half of the Americans surveyed want the climate crisis to be tackled immediately, smaller groups would like to wait A few more years and only 18% reject the need for action.
"Americans are finally beginning to realize the existential threat posed by the climate emergency for our society," said Margaret Klein Salamon, a clinical psychologist and founder of the Climate Mobilization Project. "This is a tremendous progress for our movement – and it is the young people who are responsible for it."
But while nearly all respondents accept that the climate is changing, there seems to be continuing confusion about why and why scientists trust in the causes.
Climatologists agree that the world is heating up due to climate change, human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels for power generation and transportation, as well as the cutting down of forests. However, only 44% of respondents said that human activity has made a significant contribution to climate change. More than a quarter said that our impact was negligible or nonexistent.
The results of the climate researchers are even more divided. According to the CBS survey, 52% of Americans say "Scientists agree that humans are a major cause of the climate crisis," with 48% claiming that there are disagreements among experts.
"This remains an extremely important misconception if you believe global warming is just a natural cycle and it is unlikely that you will support measures to reduce carbon pollution, such as: For example, regulations and taxes, "said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Climate Communications Program, who has achieved similar results. Long-term surveys.
"These findings also reaffirm a long-standing problem: many Americans still believe scientists are unsure whether human-induced global warming is taking place.
"Our own and others' research has repeatedly stated that this is a critical misunderstanding that has been advocated by the fossil fuel industry for decades to sow doubt, increase public insecurity and, consequently, people in the world s to keep tatus quo, in a wait-and-see mode. "
Similar to previous surveys, CBS research has identified strong ideological differences in attitudes towards the climate crisis. While nearly seven out of ten Democrat voters understand that humans have a significant impact on the climate and want 80% immediate action, only 20% of Republicans believe that human beings are a major cause and barely a quarter want quick action.
Four-quarters of Democrats said that almost all experts believe that people are driving climate change, and only 29% of Republicans say the same thing.
Age is another key variable. While 70% of 18-29 year olds consider climate change to be a serious problem or a crisis, only 58% of people over the age of 65 agree. Younger people are much more likely than their personal responsibility to tackle the climate crisis and believe that a transition to 100% renewable energy is feasible.
Young people were motivated by climate science education in schools as well as by climate science spreading the global activist movement, led by Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager who triggered a wave of strikes in the school to demand action. Thunberg recently came to the US on a solar-powered yacht before a major United Nations climate summit took place in New York on September 23.
These generational differences even have an effect on party affiliation. Two-thirds of Republicans are under 45 According to CBS's survey, they see it as their duty to tackle the climate crisis. Only 38% of Republicans over the age of 45 agree.
"Younger Republicans are much more convinced that climate change is a crisis and supports action than older Republicans – which has a big impact on the party's future," Leiserowitz said.
Around three-quarters of respondents said that understanding climate change is melting the Arctic, raising sea levels and causing warmer summers. Another two-thirds assume that global warming will increase hurricanes. Hurricane Dorian, which recently devastated parts of the Bahamas, left 38% of Americans more worried about the climate crisis, with 56% being unpredictable.
According to Leiserowitz, the relationship between extreme weather events and concerns about climate change is complex. Already concerned people are the most likely to raise the alarm when a severe storm or flood occurs.
Despite concerns about climate change, Americans seem skeptical about how much people can do about it. Only 19% said that people can stop rising temperatures and the associated effects, with nearly half of respondents believing that they can slow but not stop changes, and 23% refuse to believe that humans are at all something can.
Climate plans of leading presidential candidates. For example, the Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders has proposed a rapid transformation of society, eliminating the emissions of global warming caused by traffic and energy production within just eleven years.
"If we say we should only slow down global warming and not turn back, we are passively accepting the deaths of billions of people," said Margaret Klein Salamon of the Climate Mobilization Project.
"The only thing that can protect us is a full mobilization on deck, as we did during World War II. Avoiding the collapse of civilization and restoring a secure climate should be a top priority for any government – national, state and local. "