Most Texans believe in global warming, but many are skeptical that the phenomenon, if happening, is mostly caused by human activity, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication that comes after another sweltering, dry summer.
Some 70 percent of Texans believe that global warming is happening, according to the survey data. Fourteen percent believe the earth is not warming.
Fewer than half of the 800 Texans surveyed — 44 percent— identified humans as the root cause of a shifting climate. Thirty-one percent said natural environmental changes are mostly to blame, while 11 percent said a combination of the factors are driving the trend.
Texas is facing some of the worst drought conditions in its history, threatening rivers and groundwater supplies that are also strained by rapid population growth. The state is poised to get even hotter in the coming decades, with summer temperatures averaging in the triple-digits. That’s according to a recent study by John Nielsen-Gammon, the state's climatologist and a professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University. His study, as reported by the Texas Drought Project, says that maximum temperatures could reach 103 degrees by the year 2060.
Only 17 percent of Texans surveyed said they are “very worried” about global warming, while 37 percent said they are “somewhat worried.” The rest were evenly split between “not very worried” and “not worried at all.” More than half of those surveyed, however, said the phenomenon should be a “high” or “very high” priority for Congress and President Obama.
Anthony Leiserowitz, director of Yale Project, said the results show that “many Texans have connected the dots between climate change and extreme weather, and believe that it will increasingly impact the state over time.”
The researchers conducted the survey over landlines and cell phones. It has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.