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Warming Trends: Americans’ Alarm Grows About Climate Change, a Plant-Based Diet Packs a Double Carbon Whammy, and Making Hay from Plastic India

The Dixie Fire pushes through the Genesee Valley on Aug. 21, 2021 in Genesee, California. Credit: Allison Dinner/Getty Images CULTURE

The Growing Alarm About Climate Change

The number of Americans alarmed about global warming now outnumbers Americans who are dismissive of it three to one.

That’s according to a twice-yearly public opinion polling by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication. The latest poll, conducted in September 2021 , found that 33 percent of respondents were “alarmed” about global warming. These respondents were the most supportive of climate action and said they strongly believed that they will be affected by climate change.

The poll, which has been conducted since 2008, categorizes respondents into one of six segments, based on their level of concern about global warming: alarmed, concerned, cautious, disengaged, doubtful or dismissive.

In addition to the third who were “alarmed” respondents, the latest results showed that 25 percent said they were “concerned,” putting the majority of Americans in the two categories most supportive of climate action. Just 9 percent were “dismissive,” the category for respondents who rejected climate science and were least supportive of climate action. The cautious, disengaged and dismissive categories have decreased in size since 2017, according to TK, while the alarmed category has nearly doubled.

“There is some degree of seasonality to public opinion on climate change,” said John Kotcher, an assistant professor at George Mason University involved in the research. “But some of these increases were so large in magnitude, it’s hard to imagine it’s purely just a seasonal effect.”

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Kotcher said the growth in climate alarm among Americans could be attributed to more political leaders talking about climate change, an increase in climate activism and more severe heat waves, hurricanes and wildfire events.

“I think we have some evidence to suggest that the extreme weather events that occurred over the summer and in the run up to the September 2021 survey likely played a role in some of the increases that we observe,” Kotcher said. “And the fact that media attention to the issue has also been growing likely amplified some of those effects.” SOLUTIONS

When Traffic Slows, Biking to Work Accelerates

Reducing traffic speeds to 20 miles per hour could significantly increase the number of commuters using bicycles to get to work, a new study found.

Researchers at the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom looked at census data for 172,000 Surrey residents that showed where they lived, where they worked and what mode of transport they used to get to work. All the people included in the study lived 1.2 to 3.1 miles away from their workplaces.The researchers examined the shortest route between home and work for residents who said they biked or drove to work and looked at the factors along the […]

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