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A record number of Americans understand that climate change is real, according to a new study, and they are becoming increasingly concerned about its effects in their lives today.
Some 73 percent of Americans were reconciled late last year, global warming said, found the report, a 10 percentage point jump from 201
The rise in the number of Americans who say global warming is personally important to them was even sharper, jumped percentage points since March to 72 percent, another record over the last decade.
The study is the latest in a series from the Yale Climate Change Communication Program and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication. It was conducted online in November and December by Ipsos, who asked 1,114 American adults.
The results suggest that climate change has moved out of the hypothetical realm to a vast majority of Americans, Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale program.
"It's something that activates a feeling in people and that feeling is worried," he said. The study showed that 69 percent of Americans were "worried" about heating, an eight-point increase since March.
"People have begun to understand that climate change is here in the United States, here in my state, in my community that affects the people and places I care about, and now," says Dr. Leiserowitz. "This does not happen in 50 years, 100 years from now."
Asked if people in the United States were harmed by global warming "right now," 48 percent of respondents responded, an increase of nine percentage points since March. And 49 percent said they believed they would be personally harmed by global warming, a seven point jump in the same period.
While public opinion on climate conditions has fluctuated over the years, many of the recent changes were large enough to fall outside the margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points. "I've never seen any of the key indicators like this one," said Dr. Leiserowitz.
America's growing understanding of global warming is part of a long-term trend, he said. But he attributed the recent hikes to a series of extreme weather conditions with probable links to a warming plan and to the publicity that mentioned two major scientific reports on climate change last year.
"Whenever he talks about climate change, he drives more media attention to the exact problem," Dr said. leiserowitz.
Political party affiliation is strongly associated with the acceptance of the overwhelming scientific consensus on global warming, with democrats who tend to accept it, and the Republicans tend to reject it. But Mr. Trump's approach to politics is so divisive, says Dr. Leiserowitz, when he takes a strong stance on climate change and other issues, "he tends to drive a majority of the country in the opposite direction."
In the poll, a record 62 percent of respondents understood that humans are the main cause of climate change, a four point increase since March; Those who are mainly due to natural causes were at a record 23 percent, a drop of five points in the same period.
About two-thirds of those surveyed believed that global warming affected the US weather by about half that warming made last year's fires in British and Hurricanes Florence and Michael worse . Attribution Science Guidelines – studying how climate change affects individual weather conditions – is still evolving, but it has been well established that heating can make fires more frequent and hurricanes more destructive.
Disasters like these have brought one-time abstract concepts to home, said Katharine Hayhoe, climate scientist at Texas Tech University, who was not involved in the study. "Today, almost everyone can point to a way they personally witness and are personally affected by the effects of a changing climate in the places where they live," she said.
Global warming and its effects are increasingly becoming part of the national discussion, said Sunshine Menezes, a climate communication expert at the University of Rhode Island and CEO of Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting .
She noted that 41 percent of respondents in the vote said they were talking about global warming with family and friends "often" or "occasionally" and 56 percent said they heard about the topic in the news media at least once a month, an increase of 13 percent since 2015. "It will be harder and harder to avoid climate change talks," she said.
Although it is impossible to assign shifts in public opinion like this to a single factor, Dr. Menezes, "I'm just excited about it happening."
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