Thursday, April 30, 2015

Millennials Seem No More Concerned About Warming than Their Elder Americans

 Millennials led a protest in New York's Central Park last September demanding "system change, not climate change," but a new poll suggests they're not likely to change much. (Photo Credit: Thomas Altfather Good / Flickr) Click to Enlarge.
Young adults are no more likely to believe in man-made climate change than older Americans, according to a poll released yesterday that challenges assumptions about the strength of the millennial generation's views on warming.

The Harvard University survey found that 55 percent of respondents aged 18 to 29 say that climate change is mostly caused by emissions from cars and industrial activity.  That's similar to the findings of other polls that ask Americans of all ages about their belief in rising temperatures.

The results seem to test the idea held by some climate advocates, including President Obama, that warming should be viewed more urgently among young Americans, who will have to endure predicted large changes coming in their lifetimes.

"They are not outliers," John Della Volpe, polling director for Harvard's Institute of Politics, said of millennials.  "They are more in line with the public on this issue than I think they have been in the recent past."

They also echo older Americans with their skepticism.  The poll found that 20 percent of young adults say climate change is "a proven fact" but that it's caused by natural forces, not human-induced emissions.  An additional 23 percent say it's "a theory that has not yet been proven."

"I was personally very surprised to see that the young people ... were very similar to the national survey," said Ellen Robo, a Harvard student who helped with the poll.  She said that 50 percent of Americans of all ages say humans are responsible for climate change.

The findings do point to one small uptick.  This year, 32 percent of millennials say the government should do more to curb climate change, even if it hurts economic growth.  Last year, that number was 27 percent, Della Volpe said.

Read more at Millennials Seem No More Concerned About Warming than Their Elder Americans

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