A Concerning Number Of Americans Don’t Think Humans Are Responsible For Climate Change Ahead Of COP26

Photo: Ververidis Vasilis / Shutterstock.com
Forest fire in Greece

The climate crisis that the world faces is a threat known to many, but apparently, that’s not the case in the United States.

VICE News teamed up with the Guardian and pollster YouGov to figure out what Americans think and how they feel about climate change.

45% of Americans don’t think humans cause global warming.

In 2021 alone, we’ve seen plenty of natural disasters that were in direct causation with the current climate crisis.

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During the winter months earlier this year, Texas was hit with its hardest snowstorm ever — causing $22.5 billion in damages and leaving nearly 10 million homes without electricity.

The wildfires on the west coast continue to worsen as the years go by, burning more than 6.5 million acres of land so far in 2021 and seeing the two largest wildfires in the country in the last 2 years.

However, as the United Nations’ climate change conference, COP26, approaches, many people are divided on what exactly is causing the climate crisis.

While 69.5 percent of respondents believe global warming is happening, 45 percent believe that humans aren’t the cause and that the cause is either “natural changes in the environment” or “other.”

Those who don’t believe that humans are the cause largely belong on the conservative side of the political spectrum — Republicans took up 55.4 percent of those votes while Independents reached 33 percent and Democrats trailed with 17.2 percent.

Global consensus among scientists is that global warming is actually occurring because of humans, but for some reason, a lot of people think that there’s discord among them.

97 percent of scientists, or more, agree that humans are causing global warming, but 30.5 percent of respondents think there’s some sort of scientific debate over the reasoning behind it.

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Republicans again took up the brunt of the demographic who answered that not all scientists agree with exactly half of the respondents, while only about 14.9 percent of Democrats believed it.

Many are blaming Big Oil for global warming.

The poll also suggests that a large number of people believe that big oil companies are largely responsible for climate change and global warming.

Democrats were far more likely to place most of the blame on the oil industry than Republicans — 83.4 percent versus 27.8 percent.

12.8 percent of respondents believed that big oil companies held no blame at all, but nearly half of respondents at 43.5 percent believed that individual people were somewhat responsible.

As part of the survey, the proctors gave respondents an excerpt from an article about how oil and gas behemoth Exxon already knew of climate change in the 70s but pretended it wasn’t real.

The result was a 7 percent increase from the previous 60.2 percent in the number of people who thought that big oil companies are completely or mostly responsible.

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Climate activism remains unpopular.

While climate activists and celebrities aren’t exactly few and far between, people are much less likely to be vocal about their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint.

78.9 percent of respondents admitted that they wouldn’t go out to protest with other climate activists, while 69.2 percent said they wouldn’t even donate to a cause.

However, most respondents agree that climate change has harmed the country on an individualistic level, with minority groups being more likely to agree as they are the ones who suffer from the effects the most.

Scientists now, more than ever, urge world leaders to take action in order to prevent irreversible damage to the planet that could cause an increase in catastrophic events and could even result in the end of civilization as we know it.

As COP26 approaches and leaders in the U.S. push for the Green New Deal, hopefully, there will be some sort of compromise that won’t jeopardize the fate of the planet.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics. Follow him on Twitter here.