Researchers have released an analysis of the attitudes of Americans concerning global warming.
Peter Howe, lead author of the study, says the idea of the research was developing a mapping tool of public opinion based on geographic variations in the U.S.
"Decisions about how to respond to issues such as climate change can happen at the state and local level as well as the national level, so we wanted to find out what people think about the issue at these levels," said Howe, who is also an assistant professor of human-environment geography at the Utah State University's Department of Environment and Society.
The mapping tool "Yale Climate Opinion Maps," constructed with Howe's data as the foundation, lets people explore more about public opinion on global warming in geographic detail.
The survey was conducted across 50 states, and over 12,000 Americans took part in it. The researchers said that local and state surveys are usually time-intensive and costly. Most public polls are normally done at the national level only. The latest model used by the study showed full geographic diversity of public opinion in the country for the first time.
Howe claims that such a project of this scale has never been done in the past. The survey results help in visualizing data and also in looking for patterns.
The survey found that 63 percent of Americans in general and 60 percent of the people in Utah believe that climate change is actually happening.
The study also revealed that 48 percent of the entire American population and 45 percent of Utahns think that global warming is happening due to human activities. The majority, or 97 percent, of the scientific community claim that gobal warming is indeed anthropogenic, or caused by humans.
Around 54 percent of the people in West Virginia think that climate change is happening. More than 70 percent of people in Hawaii, California and New York agree that global warming is occurring.
Carbon dioxide emission is one of the key reasons of global warming. More than 70 percent of adults in Utah believe that there should be more regulations on carbon dioxide to curb pollution.
Photo: Dai Lou | Flickr