Poll: Two-thirds of N.J. residents view climate change as a crisis

This March 14, 2017, photo shows the flooded streets of a back bay neighborhood in Manahawkin N.J., after a moderate storm. Scientists and people living in back-bay areas behind barrier islands say flooding is increasing, even as the problem gets less attention and money than flooding along the ocean. (Wayne Parry/AP Photo)

This March 14, 2017, photo shows the flooded streets of a back bay neighborhood in Manahawkin N.J., after a moderate storm. Scientists and people living in back-bay areas behind barrier islands say flooding is increasing, even as the problem gets less attention and money than flooding along the ocean. (Wayne Parry/AP Photo)

A newly released poll has found that more than two in three New Jersey residents feel that climate change is at a crisis level.

The telephone poll of 807 adult residents conducted by Stockton University’s William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy also found that nearly three-quarters of the state’s residents believe climate change is happening now.

Pollsters founds that the views of coastal residents were “statistically similar” to those statewide, according to John Froonjian, interim director of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy.

“We wondered whether those living near the water would feel differently about these issues than residents throughout the state,” Froonjian said. “But there was broad agreement across New Jersey. On almost every question, results in coastal areas were within a few percentage points of the statewide responses.”

More the six in 10 respondents believe that climate change is mainly driven by human activity and burning fossil fuels, while 27 percent feel it is a natural occurrence, according to the poll.

Beach erosion was noted as a “major problem” by 70 percent of the recipients, followed by harm to farming at 68 percent, flooding by 66 percent, and health effects by 57 percent.

At the coast, among those who believe climate change is currently impacting New Jersey, more than 75 percent cited coastal flooding as a significant or serious problem.

“Just over half (54 percent) would support local construction projects to reduce the threat of flooding, even if they had to pay higher taxes or fees. A larger group (68 percent) would support limiting or restricting construction next to beaches and the ocean, and 85 percent would support building dunes to protect the shore even if they block the view of the ocean,” the poll found.

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