According to a new Gallup poll, more Americans are concerned about climate change than ever before.
The survey, conducted between March 1st and 5th, found that 68 percent of Americans surveyed believed human activities are causing climate change, and 62 percent believed we are already witnessing the effects of climate change. 45 percent of responders said they worry “a great deal” about the effects of climate change, up from 37 percent in 2016. A further 21 percent said they worry “a fair amount.”
In another record high, the poll showed 71 percent of Americans agreed that most scientists have concluded global warming is occurring.
Gallup said these numbers marked a 30 year high for American fears about climate change. They speculated that the significant increase may have been fueled by the second hottest February ever on record, immediately before the survey was conducted. Gallup noted there had been a 2007 spike in concern as well, with analysts suspecting that Al Gore’s 2006 documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth” fueled rising awareness of global warming at the time. Gallup added that a subsequent slump in levels of concern between 2007 and 2011 has been attributed to concern about the global recession and economic issues taking the spotlight.
The poll comes after President Trump’s administration has repeatedly dismissed climate change concerns. Trump’s recent budget proposal includes a 31 percent cut in funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, which has been tasked with enforcing pollution and emissions standards.
On Thursday, director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, said of government efforts to fight climate change: “We’re not spending money on that anymore. We consider that to be a waste of your money.”
Donald Trump has dismissed climate change as a hoax devised by China to render American businesses less competitive. Last week, Scott Pruitt, Trump’s EPA chief, said he did not believe carbon dioxide is a primary cause of global warming, going against scientific consensus on the matter.
Judging by the new Gallup poll, these positions may run counter to those of most ordinary Americans.
On Tuesday, environmental advocates asked the EPA’s inspector general to investigate Pruitt’s denial of carbon dioxide’s role in climate change, saying the comments were in violation of a 2012 Scientific Integrity Policy. Those rules stipulate that EPA officials must “respect” the conclusions of the scientific community.
Sierra Club lawyers said that Pruitt’s statements ignore “decades of work by international scientific authorities and federal agencies, including the EPA, that have found carbon dioxide to be a primary cause of global warming.” They said the statements are “not only erroneous, but appear to be politically motivated.”