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turning the tide
January 22, 2019

Americans' attitudes toward climate change have changed quite dramatically in just a few years, with almost half now seeing it as an immediate threat.

In a poll released Tuesday, 48 percent of Americans said that people in the U.S. are being harmed by climate change "right now," Axios reports. This is an increase of 16 percentage points since that question was asked in March 2015, and an increase of nine points since it was asked in March 2018. Going back even further, in January 2010, only 24 percent of Americans said climate change was currently causing harm.

Americans, according to this poll, no longer simply see climate change as a problem that their kids or their grandkids will have to deal with. Instead, 49 percent said they believe they will be personally harmed by it. Additionally, 72 percent of Americans said climate change is an important issue for them, up from 63 percent last year and 55 percent in 2013. And 69 percent said they're very or somewhat worried about it, up from 52 percent in March 2015.

Overall, 73 percent said that climate change is occurring, compared to 57 percent in 2010, while just 14 percent said it's not occurring. This shift in attitude correspondents with Americans growing more informed on the issue, as 57 percent now acknowledge that most scientists agree climate change is happening, up from 40 percent in March 2015 and 33 percent in 2010.

The Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication conducted this poll by surveying 1,114 U.S. adults online from Nov. 28 through Dec. 11. The margin of error is 3 percentage points. Brendan Morrow

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