ADN poll: Alaskans are sure about global warming, but not its cause

alaskaThree-quarters of Alaskans are sold on the existence and seriousness of global warming, but far fewer are convinced that it’s caused by human activity, according to a poll commissioned by Alaska Dispatch News.

Those results largely mirror the opinions of Americans at large, according to recent polls, including one recently conducted by CBS and the New York Times that asked the same questions.

Debate over climate change — and what to do about it — has become a deeply partisan issue in Washington, D.C., in recent years. Just last week, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily halted the Environmental Protection Agency’s major climate change regulations for the nation’s power plants for the duration of an ongoing legal battle. But on the international stage, major countries have agreed that curbing greenhouse gas emissions is essential to lessen the environmental impacts of global warming. 

Alaskans were asked two questions about global warming as part of a 750-person survey conducted in January by Ivan Moore Research for Alaska Dispatch News. The quarterly “Alaska Survey” included questions from multiple clients on a variety of topics. It had a 3.6 percent margin of error, meaning the results represent the total state population within 3.6 percentage points either way.

The first question was whether global warming is an environmental problem that is causing a serious impact now, in the future, or never at all. Just more than half — 54.3 percent — said global warming is already having serious impacts, and 20.7 percent said the impacts will happen sometime in the future. One-fifth of those polled said global warming will have no serious impacts, and 4.7 percent were not sure. 

Where people live in Alaska seemed to affect their feelings on the existence and urgency of climate change. Those polled in rural Alaska, Southeast and Anchorage were more likely to say that climate change is already having serious impacts, compared to people elsewhere in Southcentral Alaska and Fairbanks. 

And of those polled in rural Alaska, lessr than 5 percent thought climate change would have no serious impacts, ever.

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