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Global Warming’s Human Health Impacts Poorly Understood by Americans

Global Warming’s Human Health Impacts Poorly Understood by Americans

In our spring 2014 national survey, we asked Americans to give us their best estimates of the impacts of global warming on human health worldwide – currently and 50 years from now. The largest proportion of respondents (38% to 42%) simply said, “I don’t know.” The next largest proportion (27% to 39%) said either “no one” or “hundreds” of people worldwide will die, be made ill or injured by global warming each year, either now or 50 years from now.

Only 18% to 32% of Americans said, correctly, that each year either “thousands” or “millions” of people worldwide will die, be made ill or injured by global warming, either now or 50 years from now.

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Few Americans “very worried” about global warming

Our latest survey from April 2014 finds that only one in three Americans thinks people in the U.S. are being harmed “right now” by global warming in the United States.  Even as the impacts of global warming have increased over time, public worry has remained stable, and many Americans still perceive global warming as a relatively distant threat.

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Public Understanding vs. Scientific Consensus

In our latest survey conducted in April 2014 we found that the public misunderstanding of the degree of scientific consensus about human-caused climate change persists.  Only about half the American public believes that climate change, if it is happening, is mostly human caused.  

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Climate Change in the American Mind April 2014

Climate Change in the American Mind April 2014

Americans Appear More Certain That Global Warming Is Happening.

Our most recent survey, conducted in April, 2014, finds that by more than a three-to-one margin, more Americans think global warming is happening than think it is not. Currently, 64% of Americans think global is happening, a number that has been relatively stable over the past three years.  

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Americans support limits on CO2

Americans support limits on CO2

Americans support limits on CO2 from existing coal-fired power plants and regulating CO2 as a pollutant

Each year in the United States about 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions – the primary cause of global warming – comes from electric power plants, especially those powered by the burning of coal.

On Monday, June 2, the EPA will release new proposed limits on CO2 emissions from existing coal-fired power plants. These regulations are likely to face fierce resistance from the coal industry and their allies.

What do Americans think about these proposed limits?

A national opinion survey we conducted in April of this year finds that – by nearly a two to one margin – Americans support setting strict limits on carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired plants, even if the cost of electricity to consumers and companies increases.

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What’s In A Name? Global Warming vs Climate Change

What’s In A Name? Global Warming vs Climate Change

A nationally representative survey finds that the terms “global warming” and “climate change” often mean different things to Americans—and activate different sets of beliefs, feelings, and behaviors, as well as different degrees of urgency about the need to respond.

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