New Report — Climate Change in the Texan Mind –finds widespread belief in climate disruption

Below is executive summary of recent Yale Project on Climate Change Communication report

 

Executive Summary

• Most Texans (70%) believe global warming is happening. Relatively few (14%) believe it is not.

• Fewer than half of Texans (44%) believes that if global warming is happening, it is caused mostly by human activities. By contrast, 31% believe it is caused mostly by natural changes in the environment, while 11% believe it is a combination of the two causes.

• Texans think global warming is important and are worried about it. About three in four (73%) say the issue of global warming is at least somewhat important to them personally. About half (54%) are at least somewhat worried about it.

• Though virtually all climate scientists agree human-caused global warming is happening, many Texans, like most Americans, are unaware of this fact. Nearly half (47%) believe that “there is a lot of disagreement among scientists” about whether or not global warming is happening. Fewer (43%) believe most scientists think that global warming is happening.

• Among those who believe global warming is happening, solid majorities believe it is currently having a large or moderate influence on the severity of heat waves (84%), drought (80%), and wildfires (72%) in Texas.

• About half of Texans (52%) say they have personally experienced the effects of global warming.

• 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.

• More than half of Texans say that more should be done about global warming at all levels of government—from Congress (62%) and President Obama (57%), to Governor Perry (59%) and Texas’s state legislature (56%), to local government officials (60%). However, even larger numbers of Texans believe that citizens themselves (69%) and corporations and industry (68%) should be doing more to address climate change.

• Over half of Texans (55%) say the United States should reduce greenhouse gas emissions regardless of whether or not other countries do the same.

• Many Texans believe that individual action, and especially collective action, can be effective in addressing global warming. Among those who believe global warming is happening, most (89%) say their own actions would reduce their personal contribution to global warming at least a little. Virtually all Texans who believe global warming is happening say that if the same actions were taken by most people in the U.S. (96%) or around the world (96%), it would reduce global warming a little, some, or a lot.

Climate Change in the Texan Mind 4

• About four in ten Texans (43%), a plurality, say that switching from fossil fuels to clean energy sources would increase economic growth and the number of jobs. By contrast, only three in ten (29%) say a switch to clean energy would decrease economic growth and the number of jobs.

• Many Texans are unsure that people will rally to do what’s necessary to reduce global warming. One in three (35%), a plurality, believes humans could reduce global warming but that it’s unclear at this point whether we will do what is needed. Relatively few are convinced that people can reduce global warming and will do so successfully (8%).

• More than four in ten Texans (44%) say that, in the past 12 months, they have rewarded companies that are taking steps to reduce global warming by buying their products at least once, and 40% would like to do it more often in the next 12 months. Moreover, one in three (32%) have punished companies that are opposing steps to reduce global warming at least once by not buying their products during the past 12 months, and 32% would like to do this more often in the coming year.

• A majority of Texans (58%) say that President Obama is very or somewhat believable when speaking about energy- and climate-related issues. Half (50%) say Governor Rick Perry is very or somewhat believable regarding the same issues and four in ten (43%) say he is not very or not at all believable. Fewer than half of Texans say that either Senator Ted Cruz (46%) or Senator John Cornyn (44%) is believable regarding energy and climate issues.

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