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News Tip: Growing Belief in Climate Change, No Consensus on Solutions, Polls Show

Two new public opinion polls (here and here) show Americans increasingly are concerned about climate change and believe its effects already are being felt. But the polls -- one from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, the other from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication -- find less consensus about how policymakers should address it.

“I see three things in the polls. First, the slow rise over the last 10 years in Americans’ belief and concern about climate change doesn’t seem to be letting up,” says professor Megan Mullin, an associate professor of environmental politics at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

“Second, there has been a sharper rise in people’s perceptions that climate change effects are underway -- probably because of the fires and flooding we have seen in the last few years.”

“Third, a majority of the public still does not seem ready to pay for policy changes to tackle climate change. How this all might translate into support for specific policy proposals backed by specific politicians is an open question.”

Megan Mullin is associate professor of environmental politics at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. Her research focuses on the politics of climate change, the factors that shape public perception about it, and how – or if – this affects their voting decisions.

For additional comment, contact Mullin at:

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