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Yale Survey Reveals Significant Public Concern about Climate Change

A survey commissioned by the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy reveals that concern among the public about global warming has increased significantly over the past few years.

Among the findings, 83 percent of Americans now say global warming is a “serious” problem, up from 70 percent in 2004.  More Americans than ever say they have serious concerns about environmental threats such as air and water pollution, as well as dependence on Middle Eastern oil. 

Most dramatically, the survey of 1,000 adults nationwide shows that 63 percent of Americans agree that the United States “is in as much danger from environmental hazards, such as air pollution and global warming, as it is from terrorists.”

Clinical Professor of Law Dan Esty ’86, who directs the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, says there has also been a dramatic shift in the business community’s attitude toward the environment.

“Rather than seeing environmental issues as a set of costs to bear, regulation to follow and risks to manage,” says Esty, “companies have begun to focus on the ‘upside,’ recognizing that society’s desire for action on climate change, in particular, will create a huge demand for reducing carbon-content products.”

He adds, “It’s clear that the public is not waiting for the government to take the lead. Americans no longer think it’s entirely the domain of government to solve environmental problems. They expect companies to step up and address climate change and other concerns.”

For more information on the environmental survey, visit the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy website.