Study Finds 70 Percent of Texans Acknowledge Climate Change

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A comprehensive study by the Yale Project for Climate Change Communication found that 70 percent of Texans acknowledge climate change. Only 14 percent do not. More than half of Texans, 55 percent, think the United States should reduce greenhouse gas emissions regardless of whether other countries do the same.

Unfortunately, the rest of the numbers aren't so good. Only 44 percent of Texans believe that if global warming is happening, human activities mostly cause it. Further, 31 percent of Texans consider any changes to be mostly natural, and 11 percent think it is a combination of the two. Nearly half of Texans, 47 percent, believe there is “a lot of disagreement among scientists” about whether or not climate change is happening. Even fewer, 43 percent, believe that most scientists recognize global warming.

A full 97 percent of climate scientists agree that climate change is happening and that human industrial activity, primarily greenhouse gases, is causing it. The other 3 percent are almost all paid by the fossil fuel industry to hold the “views” they do. Scientists are as sure about climate change as they are about Earth being 13.8 billion years old, and that cigarettes cause a number of cancers.

More on what Texans think about climate change below the jump.Texans who do acknowledge climate change are very worried about it:

Among Texans who believe global warming is happening, large majorities expect to see a myriad of negative effects over the next 50 years. Nearly all anticipate more heat waves (95%) and increased drought and water shortages (92%) in Texas due to global warming. More than eight in ten believe Texas will experience worse storms, hurricanes, or tornadoes (87%), declining numbers of fish and native wildlife (86%), and increased allergies, asthma, infectious diseases, or other health problems (85%) due to global warming.

They're right. Climate change will hurt people's health through scarcer resources, increased heat waves, reduced air quality, and climate-sensitive diseases. Climate change also increases the frequency and impact of extreme weather events.

Though Texans could come farther in acknowledging global warming, their government hardly represents the views they currently hold. Gov. Rick Perry is a proud climate change skeptic, and his solution to Texas' recent record droughts has been to “pray for rain”. Attorney General Greg Abbott recently told Texans he doesn't believe climate change is caused by the burning of fossil fuels. Abbott has sued the EPA numerous times, most recently losing a case against EPA regulation of Texas power plants.

In August, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its annual study, which revealed alarming realities about climate change. “Depending on the dataset, 2012 was eighth or ninth warmest in the record since 1850 at the surface and eighth to eleventh warmest since 1979 in the troposphere. All top ten years in both records have occurred since the large El Niño event of 1998,” the report explains.

Among the findings are that North America is being hit particularly hard, sea level is at a record high during human existence, and that the critical permafrost continues to warm – steadily releasing 3,747,858,457,145,000 pounds of stored carbon. The “causes are primarily greenhouse gases, the burning of fossil fuels,” said report co-editor and National Climactic Data Center climate monitoring chief Deke Arndt.

This country already has climate refugees. Climate change has slammed Texas particularly hard, depleting crops, and reducing our water supply to a point where even the Republican Legislature had enact measures this year to preserve our depleting water. There are now towns in this state that have run out of water completely due to the practice of fracking, at once a cause of climate change and a consequence of the fossil fuel depletion that causes it.

It has been time for action for a long, long time.

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About Author

Ben Sherman

Ben Sherman has been a BOR staff writer since 2011. A graduate of the University of Texas, Ben has worked on campaigns, in political consulting, and has written for other news outlets like Think Progress. Ben considers campaign finance reform the fundamental challenge of our time because it distorts almost every other issue in American politics.

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