Poll: Americans blame wild weather on global warming

October 12, 2017 by Seth Borenstein And Emily Swanson
Poll: Americans blame wild weather on global warming
In this Aug. 27, 2017, file photo, people look at submerged cars on a freeway flooded by Tropical Storm Harvey near downtown Houston, Texas. After Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria blitzed the nation, most Americans think weather disasters are getting more severe and they see global warming's fingerprints all over them. A new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research says 68 percent of those surveyed think weather disasters seem to be worsening, compared to 28 percent who think they are staying the same and only 4 percent who say they are less severe. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

After hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria blitzed the nation, most Americans think weather disasters are getting more severe and see global warming's fingerprints.

A new poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that 68 percent of Americans think seem to be worsening, compared to 28 percent who think they are staying the same and only 4 percent who say they are less severe.

And 46 percent of those who think it's getting worse blame man-made climate change mostly or solely for the wild weather, while another 39 percent say it's a combination of and natural variability.

"Just with all the hurricanes that are happening this year ... it just seems like things are kind of mixed up," said Kathy Weber, a 46-year-old stay-at-home mom from Menomonie, Wisconsin.

When Hurricane Nate washed ashore in the Gulf Coast earlier this month, it was one of the first storms that Greg Thompson did not evacuate for. Thompson, a retired pest control researcher in New Orleans, said "it's pretty irrational" that people and politicians can deny global warming when the Gulf of Mexico is so much hotter than decades ago and storms seem so much more powerful.

"When so many things are happening and so many of them (storms) are intense and so many of them are once-in-500-year levels and they're all occurring, it's a pretty good sign global warming is having an effect," Thompson said.

Susan Cutter, who directs the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute at the University of South Carolina, said she's not surprised by the poll results.

"How can you not" notice it, Cutter said. "The public sees the connection because they see it happening to their neighbors, themselves. They see it on television. And they're not responding to a particular political constituency."

Cutter and other experts say from a science perspective, it is clear that the United States is getting more extreme weather and climate change plays a role.

This year so far has seen 15 weather disasters that cost $1 billion or more, tied for the most in the first nine months of the year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

An analysis of 167 years of federal storm data by The Associated Press finds that no 30-year period in history has seen this many major hurricanes, this many days of those storms spinning in the Atlantic, or this much overall energy generated by those powerful storms.

Even though she went down to help Hurricane Harvey victims in Texas as a missionary and midwife, Gwendolyn Posey of Oklahoma just doesn't see any increase in extreme weather.

"I don't think it's man-made climate change," Posey said. "It's always changing one way or another. It's always in flux."

Poll: Americans blame wild weather on global warming
In this Sept. 14, 2017, file photo, Patrick Garvey, walks on what's left of his farm, as he talks to a reporter about by the destruction of his once-thriving enterprise, called The Grimal Grove by Hurricane Irma, in Big Pine Key, Fla. After Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria blitzed the nation, most Americans think weather disasters are getting more severe and they see global warming's fingerprints all over them. A new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research says 68 percent of those surveyed think weather disasters seem to be worsening, compared to 28 percent who think they are staying the same and only 4 percent who say they are less severe. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Posey points to a record 12-year period during which no major hit the United States. During that time period, Atlantic hurricanes were still more active than normal, but didn't hit the mainland United States.

"Anytime the government starts ramming things down my throat, I immediately think it's wrong," said Posey, a mother of 10, farmer and doctor of natural medicine. "Truth speaks for itself."

According to the new poll, 63 percent of Americans think both that climate change is happening and that the government should address it, but there's little sign that those feelings have strengthened since surveys conducted before this year's run of hurricanes.

Two-thirds of Americans disapprove of the way President Donald Trump is handling climate change. That's similar to his approval rating overall.

Thompson said he will take into account when he casts his ballot.

"If there is somebody who actually says global warming isn't happening, that's a sign that they are too stupid, too crazy or too dishonest to get my vote," Thompson said.

Many Americans, like Posey, say they've taken part in charitable activities in response to the recent storms, including 55 percent who gave money, clothing or other items to charity, 11 percent who did extra volunteer work and 9 percent who donated blood or tried to do so.

The AP-NORC poll of 1,150 adults was conducted Sept. 28-Oct. 2 using a sample drawn from NORC's probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling methods, and later interviewed online or by phone.

Explore further: Winds, floods and fire: US ties record for costly weather

More information: AP-NORC Center: www.apnorc.org

Related Stories

Scientists say Harvey may be the soggy sign of future storms

August 29, 2017

By the time the rain stops, Harvey will have dumped about 1 million gallons of water for every man, woman and child in southeastern Texas—a soggy, record-breaking glimpse of the wet and wild future that global warming could ...

Extreme weather is getting more extreme

September 11, 2017

In the past month, Hurricane Irma devastated parts of Florida and several islands in the Caribbean. Hurricane Harvey tore through Houston and other parts of Texas and Louisiana. A magnitude 8.2 earthquake devastated Chiapas ...

Recommended for you

New Amazon threat? Deforestation from mining

October 18, 2017

Sprawling mining operations in Brazil are destroying much more of the iconic Amazon forest than previously thought, says the first comprehensive study of mining deforestation in the world's largest tropical rainforest.

Scientists determine source of world's largest mud eruption

October 17, 2017

On May 29, 2006, mud started erupting from several sites on the Indonesian island of Java. Boiling mud, water, rocks and gas poured from newly-created vents in the ground, burying entire towns and compelling many Indonesians ...

7 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

julianpenrod
1 / 5 (4) Oct 12, 2017
Among other things, Americans do not blame the wild weather on global warming. They associate it with the only phenomenon the bought-and paid for "mew" and "science' community are willing to reveal to them. With only one permitted answer and many if not most unable to derive other suggestions, they go along with the propaganda.
There is no "climate change". "Climate" is more than just weather. It is a connected, self regulating system of influences. In this case, the ground, the seas, the air, life, solar radiation. In fact, ground, seas, solar radiation, life have not changed so much as to influence each other in a way to change climate! If the air were returned to where it was fifty years ago, everything would return, because that is the only facet that is different. And it is different only because it's being modified by chemtrails.
Mark Thomas
5 / 5 (3) Oct 12, 2017
"63 percent of Americans think both that climate change is happening and that the government should address it"

"If there is somebody who actually says global warming isn't happening, that's a sign that they are too stupid, too crazy or too dishonest to get my vote," Thompson said.

Unfortunately, that good feeling one might derive from being able to say, "I told you so!" is fleeting, if it happens at all. In this case, I find it hard to derive any satisfaction when so many people in Houston and elsewhere are suffering.

We Americans have to elect people who aren't beholden to the oil and coal industries, i.e., throw the corrupt Republican bums out. Republicans will never enact an energy policy heavy on wind, solar, energy storage and electric vehicles. It is in not our technology that is failing us. The biggest culprit is the corrupt and inept Republican politicians who take money to preserve the status quo for the rich.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (2) Oct 12, 2017
Poll: Americans blame wild weather on global warming

Another poll that proves Amerikans utter ignorance.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Oct 12, 2017
Meh. Climate change happens on timescales of decades. Although an outlier year (we've just set a record) focuses public attention on climate change, it's certainly not of high significance. 3 out of 10 years would be significant and 4 out of 10 highly significant.

Not a #climatedenier myself; I just want to be sure that extravagant claims are not made too quickly bringing more discredit upon science.

However, it is also significant that we have had a record season. This makes the diagnosis of climate change more likely because record seasons are more likely to happen if conditions are becoming extreme.
aksdad
1 / 5 (3) Oct 13, 2017
According to the new poll, 63 percent of Americans think both that climate change is happening and that the government should address it,

I wonder who they polled? That doesn't square with the long-running (16 years) Gallup poll "Americans Most Important Problems". Concern for climate change doesn't even show up and never has.

http://news.gallu...lem.aspx

The lack of concern is international. The U.N. poll on people's priorities ranks "action on climate change" dead last out of 16 issues (by a wide margin).

http://data.myworld2015.org/

Of course this chaps the hides of our superiors in government and the media—overwhelmingly liberal—who resent the proletariat for not embracing their jaundiced ideology, so they manufacture polls to inform us, and reassure themselves, that their wacky ideas are much more popular than they really are.
TrollBane
5 / 5 (3) Oct 13, 2017
askdad neglects to mention what those other concerns of respondents might be, in case they might be issues that are aggravated by climate change and thus actually are indirectly indications of concern with climate change. Oh what a tangled denial web he weaves...
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Oct 13, 2017
Looks like @assdad is so bad at the Internets it can't find the poll. Despite the source being linked in the article. Duhhh ummmm.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.