70 percent agree climate is changing, Monmouth poll finds

 Carol Marelli walks down her flooded street in March 2013, in Sea Bright, New Jersey, after an overnight storm. A new national poll finds that 70 percent of those surveyed believe climate change is an important issue that is affecting areas beyond the coast. (AP file photo)

Carol Marelli walks down her flooded street in March 2013, in Sea Bright, New Jersey, after an overnight storm. A new national poll finds that 70 percent of those surveyed believe climate change is an important issue that is affecting areas beyond the coast. (AP file photo)

A Monmouth University poll finds there’s a growing consensus that climate change is an important issue.

Seventy percent of Americans surveyed believe the world’s climate is undergoing a change that’s leading to extreme weather patterns and sea level rise, said Tony MacDonald, director of Monmouth University’s Urban Coast Institute.  And it’s not just coastal communities that are being affected.

“You’re having the flooding in the Mississippi and the Missouri right now. So I think the connections are being made that these issues — particularly with the increased intensity of storms — are going to impact everybody both along the shoreline, as well as inland,” he said.

More than half of those surveyed — 64 percent — of Americans say the government should do more to reduce activities that lead to climate change, but many officials are reluctant to act.

“There’s a lot of concern about the budget,” he said. “There’s a lot of concern about the economy. So I think a lot of what you’re hearing is really a reflection of political interests in other economic issues, really to some extent unrelated to climate change and the scientific questions.”

MacDonald said he believes increasing public attention on the issue will result in changes.

“I do think you are starting to reach a tipping point where the public really is going to demand action, particularly in areas like New Jersey where there’s a significant concern about sea level rise and flooding in coastal communities,” he said.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.