Climate Action

Changes in Local Weather are Catching Attention

According to a recent National Surveys on Energy and Environment (NSEE) poll by the University of Michigan and Muhlenberg College, Americans belief in climate change has risen over the course of 2014. The cause of the increase in acceptance of climate change seems to be linked to the year’s rise in extreme weather. 2014 was the hottest year on record. Between January and June of 2014, 55% of Americans surveyed believed in climate change compared to 60% in the second half of the year. Will this increase in climate change belief lead to government action? A recent study from Yale University concluded that 56% of Republicans support carbon dioxide regulations. This majority of Republicans, the party who has been known in the past to deny the existence of climate change, supporting action against climate change coupled with the increase of belief could hopefully lead to more government action. However, simply because more people believe in the world’s changing climate does not mean they associate humans as the cause of the change. Many Americans are noticing snowier winters, or hotter summers, but not as many think about their personal impact on the varying weather. Only 53% of people who acknowledge climate change’s existence attribute the cause to be humans. Severe droughts in the West and scorching summers are mainly to thank for the increase in the nation’s belief. While the increase in attention toward climate change is great, we cannot wait for every person to experience a dramatic change in their local seasons. We do not have time for people to slowly come to the realization that their own actions are putting their environment at risk. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change believes that we can reverse the effects of climate change, and we can still avoid the worst of it—but only if we act now. The panel’s recent report states that we need to be taking immediate action to cut our carbon emissions, but we can still turn things around.   Oonagh Cavanagh, Intern