By Bill Dawson
Texas Climate News
The highest percentage of Americans in a national poll’s 10-year history – 73 percent – say there is “solid evidence” of global warming.
On the question of what’s causing warming-driven climate change – human influence or natural forces – a record-high 60 percent said it was solely or partly human activity.
The poll was conducted in April and May by the University of Michigan and Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania. It was the 19th climate-related survey by the two schools since their first in 2008.
As was the case with a Gallup poll earlier this year, the new survey found a big and slightly widening partisan divide on climate questions.
The Michigan-Muhlenberg survey found 90 percent of Democrats and 50 percent of Republicans now say there is “solid evidence” of global warming. That matched the 40-point gap on that question in the Spring 2012 version and represents the biggest party division in the poll’s history.
The new poll also found a record-high divide on climate-change causation – 78 percent of Democrats and 35 percent of Republicans said people are partly or solely responsible.
The most recent overview report by the leading international body of climate scientists that comprehensively assesses research from around the world was published in 2014. It found considerably higher certainty about human causation among scientists than even Democrats professed in the new Michigan-Muhlenberg poll.
The 2014 report said that scientific evidence of warming of the atmosphere and ocean system was “unequivocal” and that it was “extremely likely” (defined as a 95-100 percent probability) that pollution from human activities has been the dominant cause since the middle of the 20th century. That’s about the same level of certainty that medical scientists have in declaring that smoking causes cancer.
The 78 percent of Democrats in the poll who say humans are at least partly responsible for climate change was the largest for that group in the poll’s history.
The pollsters noted that the 35 percent of Republicans who now agree there is at least partial human causation was down from the 39 percent of Republicans who said that in 2008.
Bill Dawson is the founder and editor of Texas Climate News.