Monday, June 22, 2015

What do people in your county think about global warming? Polls and modeling give us some idea

Pope Francis had his say on climate change and global warming this week, putting the issue before the public in a new way. Polls show that Catholic Republicans in the U.S. are already more likely to believe that humans are causing global warming, but what about public opinion your locality? What do your neighbors think?

The Yale University Project on Climate Change Communication has assembled a vast raft of data compiled over 13 years, and enhanced it with some statistical modeling, to produce at least a rough estimate for each county and slightly better estimates for states and congressional districts. Here's a screen grab of the interactive county map that gives the percentages of people who said they believe global warming is caused mainly by humans:
For the interactive map with county-by-county figures, click here. The error margin at the county level is plus or minus 8 percentage points; at the district level, 7 points; and at the state level, 5 points.

The interactive maps also have county-by-county percentages for belief in global warming; knowledge that most scientists think the world is warming (most people are ignorant of that); level of worry about global warming; whether it is hurting or will hurt Americans; whether it is hurting those who responded to the polls; whether it will hurt future generations or people in developing countries; and support for policy options: renewable-energy research, requiring utilities to produce 20 percent of their power from renewable sources; regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant; setting strict CO2 limits on existing coal-fired power plants, as the Obama administration is trying to do; or a carbon tax, "if refunded to every American household."

The Yale project is conducted in cooperation with the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University in Northern Virginia. It is funded by the Skoll Global Threats Fund, the Energy Foundation, the 11th Hour Project, the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, and the V.K. Rasmussen Foundation.

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