Three-quarters of Americans think climate change is happening and half think that humans are behind it, but the public is more evenly split on whether the threat is exaggerated.
The International Panel on Climate Change released its latest report on the state of the world's climate today reiterating its conviction that humans are behind climate change. Since its last report was released in 2007, however, the world has changed dramatically. The financial crisis in 2008 robbed the issue of much of its prominence and the failure of President Obama to get a cap and trade proposal through Congress has largely thwarted efforts for major action, though Obama and the EPA are preparing new rules to combat climate change without Congressional approval.
The latest research from YouGov shows that half of Americans (50%) believe that the world's climate is changing and that this is a result of human activity. A further 27% agree that the climate is changing, but believe that this is not due to humans. 9% think the climate is not changing.
There is a significant partisan divide on this issue, however, with Republicans and Democrats disagreeing over what is actually going on. 70% of Democrats say that humans are causing climate change, while 14% say that humans are not to blame for climate change but do think it is happening. Among Republicans, the most popular position (43%) is that climate change is real but that humans are not causing it. A further 18% say that the climate is not changing, while 29% believe that humans are causing climate change.
One thing that may help to explain this difference is the disparity between Democrats and Republicans when asked whether the concerns over climate change are exaggerated or not. 69% of Democrats believe that the concerns have not been exaggerated while 67% of Republicans believe that the concerns have been exaggerated.
Full results can be found here.