59% of Americans think the world’s climate is changing as a result of human activity
Winter storms and showers, along with fires, floods and mudslides, have afflicted the country in recent months. For some, recent weather marks the effect of climate change, but in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, some say that weather just happens. The parts of the country with the most severe recent weather are more likely to say they personally have felt the effects of climate change.
More than half in the West say they have personally felt the impact of climate change, the highest percentage of any region. The percentage in the West has risen nine points since early January, the last time this question was asked.
A majority nationally (and 64% in the West) say they expect to feel the impact of climate change sometime in their lifetime.
But have recent weather events been due to climate change? Americans are evenly divided on this, and party differences dominate. By three to one, Democrats think recent severe weather can be blamed on climate change, but by an even greater margin, Republicans say they cannot.
There are big differences between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to caring about climate change. 57% of Democrats are “very concerned” about climate change, while just 9% of Republicans are. 39% of Republicans say they are not concerned about it at all.
In part that’s due to party differences on the causes of changing climate. Republicans are not climate change deniers; many accept that change is happening, but they are not willing to place the blame on human activity. But in this week’s poll, the percent of Republicans agreeing that humans are responsible has jumped 11 points since January. For the adult population overall, a clear majority see a human role in climate change.