Vast majority of Americans believe in climate change according to poll

83 percent of Americans believe that climate change is occurring, while 60 percent think it is caused by humans

Published December 3, 2014 6:19PM (EST)

  (<a href=''>akiyoko</a> via <a href=''>Shutterstock</a>)
(akiyoko via Shutterstock)

A new poll conducted by Munich Re America, a major reinsurance firm, has found that 83 percent of Americans believe in climate change. The poll's main question ("In your opinion, do you believe that climate change is occurring?") did not ask the respondent to clarify whether the changes were caused by human activity, but about 60 percent of respondents believe it is.

The poll consisted of 1,008 people over the age of 18, contacted Oct. 9-12. The pollsters additionally found that 63 percent of respondents were worried about an increase in extreme weather events and natural disasters, and 71 percent felt alternative energy was the most promising way to combat climate change. People were less concerned about climate change than they were about global political instability, economic crises and pandemics, according to USA Today.

Still, the U.S. has a long way to go when it comes to education about environmental change -- for example, in a similar poll, 84 percent of Argentines responded that they believe climate change is caused by humans.

USA Today's Doyle Rice reports:

Other recent surveys also suggest some hesitance about attributing climate change to weather: Only 35% of U.S. citizens believed global warming was the main cause of the abnormally high temperatures during the winter of 2012, according to a paper led by Michigan State University sociologist Aaron McCright published in the journal Nature Climate Change last week.

Last month, a Pew survey reported that 48% of Americans rated global climate change as a major threat, less than concerns about the Islamic State militant group (67%), Iran's nuclear program (59%) and North Korea's nuclear program (57%).

In a Pew international survey of 39 countries last year, Americans were among the least concerned about climate change threatening their country.

The survey was released on Tuesday in conjunction with United Nations climate negotiations currently underway in Lima, Peru. Over 190 countries are gathered in the South American city to hash out the details on a global climate agreement.

By Joanna Rothkopf

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Climate Change Consensus Global Warming Poll