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Rising number of Americans worried about global warming, study finds

In the wake of a contentious U.S. election and despite the election of a president who has publicly described global warming as a hoax, Americans are increasingly sure global warming is happening, according to  a national survey conducted by the George Mason University’s Centre for Climate Change Communication after the presidential election (Nov-Dec 2016).

The number of Americans who are “very worried” about global warming has reached a record high (19%) since the Centre’s surveys began in 2008

The proportion of Americans who think global warming is happening remained steady at 70% in 2016 – nearly matching the highest level measured since November 2008 (71%). But Americans are now also more certain it is happening – the proportion that are “extremely” or “very” sure global warming is happening (45%) is at its highest level since 2008, says the report.

The number of Americans who are “very worried” about global warming has reached a record high (19%) since the Centre’s surveys began in 2008. A majority of Americans (61%) say they are “very” or “somewhat” worried about the issue – nearly equal to the highest level last seen in 2008 (62%).

Likewise, Americans increasingly view global warming as a threat. Since Spring 2015, more Americans think it will harm people in developing countries (65%, +12 points), people in the U.S. (59%, +10 points), future generations (71%, +8 points), their family (46%, +5 points), and themselves personally (41%, +5 points).

K-12 (a short form for the publicly-supported school grades prior to college) instruction on climate change is now required as part of the STEM Next Generation Science Standards. Despite being controversial in some school districts, a large majority of Americans (76%) support teaching children about global warming in school.

The report includes several other results, including measures of public feelings of anger, fear and hope about global warming and the frames by which Americans conceptualise the issue (for example, as an environmental, scientific, political, moral, or religious issue).

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