New polling suggests that more Americans are concerned believers in climate change than ever before. The survey data arrives just as President Donald Trump is slated to sign a sweeping executive order that would reverse many of the regulations on carbon emissions passed under the administration of former President Barack Obama.
On March 27, a new Gallup poll found that 50 percent of national adults identify as concerned believers of climate change, while 31 percent said that they belong in the mixed middle on the topic. Meanwhile, 19 percent of respondents described themselves as "cool skeptics."
The survey defines "concerned believers" as people who believe in both the scientific consensus that humanity is contributing to climate change as well as the fear that its impact could threaten their own lifetime. The "mixed middle" are likely to believe that human activity contributes to climate change but believe that its environmental impact has been exaggerated.
The cool skeptics do not believe in the scientific consensus that human activity intensifies climate change and are not concerned by its environmental impact on their lifetimes or for the foreseeable future.
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The survey results mark the largest majority of concerned believers in the U.S. population since Americans were polled on the question. In 2001, Gallup found that only 39 percent of respondents were concerned believers while 49 percent were in the mixed middle on climate change. Meanwhile, there were fewer cool skeptics then, with only 12 percent dismissing the scientific community's consensus outright.
Breaking down the data, views on climate change fell along partisan lines and women and young people were more likely to take the threat of its environmental impact seriously.
Only nine percent of Republicans were concerned believers, while 61 percent were cool skeptics. Meanwhile, 47 percent of Democrats were concerned believers while only three percent were cool skeptics.
Among concerned believers, 44 percent were men while 56 percent were women. Among cool skeptics, only 18 percent were between the ages of 18 to 34, while 57 percent were aged 55 and older.
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Trump's previous remarks about climate change indicate that he is a cool skeptic on the topic. In November 2012, the future president asserted that climate change was a hoax.
"The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive," Trump tweeted out.
On March 28, the president is expected to sign an executive action that will dismantle the majority of directives that Obama's administration had implemented expressly to combat climate change. The Trump administration has asserted that these regulations had constricted U.S. energy industries, Bloomberg Politics reports.
Among the directives that Trump is expected to reverse is Obama's Clean Power Plan, which had aimed to reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 32 percent by 2030, and a federal rule that call for regulations to be judged by environmental footprint instead of mere cost benefit.
Climate and clean air director David Doniger of the Natural Resources Defense Council believes that this executive order would erase a decade of federal action to curb the impact of climate change.
"But nobody voted to abandon America's leadership in climate action and the clean-energy revolution," Doniger asserted. "This radical retreat will meet a great wall of opposition."
Based on the most recent Gallup survey, Trump's attempts to reverse the Obama administration's environmental regulations could face more resistance from the public than he had previously anticipated.