Americans are significantly more worried about climate change than they were three years ago, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released Tuesday, with 59 percent calling the warming planet a very or extremely important issue for them, up from 49 percent in 2018. Majorities said their concerns about climate change were shaped by scientists (54 percent) and recent extreme weather events (51 percent), the poll found.
In all, 75 percent of Americans, including 57 percent of Republicans, said they believe climate change is happening — 10 percent said they don't think it's real. Of the 75 percent who believe in climate change, 54 percent said it is caused mostly or entirely by human activities. And 55 percent of Americans told the AP-NORC pollsters they want Congress to pass a bill ensuring that more energy consumed in the U.S. comes from clean sources and less comes from coal and natural gas.
"Only 16 percent of Americans oppose such a measure for electricity from cleaner energy," similar to President Biden's proposal in his Build Back Better plan, AP reports. "But Biden's proposal to reward utilities with clean energy sources and penalize those without ran into objections from a coal-state senator, Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, leaving fellow Democrats scrambling to come up with other ways to slash pollution from burning fossil fuels."
Global warming is "already here, and what was the first thing they start watering down to get this bill through? Climate change," Nancy Reilly, a Democrat in Missouri, told AP. "It's just maddening," she added. "I understand why, I do — I get the politics of it. I'm sick of the politics of it."
The AP-NORC poll surveyed 5,468 U.S. adults Sept. 8-24 through NORC's AmeriSpeak Panel, randomly recruited then interviewed by phone. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is ± 1.7 percentage points.