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Floridians highly concerned about climate change, new poll suggests

More Democrats than Republicans believe it’s real and man-made.

More than two-thirds of Floridians are worried climate change threatens future generations and that the government is not doing enough to combat it. That’s according to a new Florida Climate Resilience Survey by the Florida Atlantic University Center for Environmental Studies in FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, and the Business and Economics Polling Initiative in the school’s College of Business.

The school plans to conduct the same survey each quarter.

It finds 68 percent of Floridians either agree or strongly agree that climate change causes them concern for the well-being of future generations in Florida. Only 28 percent said that Florida’s government at the state, county and municipal level is doing enough to address the impacts of climate change.

Most respondents indicated support for future solar energy production in Florida and favored teaching climate change causes, consequences and solutions in Florida’s K-12 classrooms, 51 percent and 68 percent, respectively. Nearly half of the respondents, 48 percent, said they are willing to pay $10 per month to strengthen Florida’s infrastructure through things like improving bridges, roads and stormwater systems to reduce threats from weather hazards.

Further, 56 percent of Floridians surveyed believe climate change is real and primarily driven by human activity. That number is higher among Democrats, with 70 percent saying climate change is a genuine threat caused, at least in large part, by humans. Only 44 percent of Republicans felt the same way. Fifty-nine percent of independents agreed.

Concern over climate change is also higher among younger people, with 60 percent agreeing with the scientific consensus on climate change that ties effects to human interference in the environment. That number drops to 51 percent among people aged 50-64 and 52 percent among people 65 and over.

While a majority of respondents were worried about the government’s inadequate plans, 59 percent felt their personal households were well-prepared by having supplies like food, water, power generators, phone chargers and radios on hand.

However, 65 Floridians are moderately or extremely concerned about hurricanes becoming stronger or more frequent. Another 61 percent are worried about rising temperatures, and 59 percent are concerned by sea-level rise.

Nearly half of those surveyed think the business community can use innovation and entrepreneurship to adapt to weather hazards.

The survey was conducted from Oct. 1-15 among a sample of 1,045 Floridians, 18 years of age and older, with a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
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