Public Release:  Floridians believe global warming will have dangerous impacts on the state

Residents want government to do more to address climate change

University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

MIAMI -- A new survey of Floridians finds that most are convinced that global warming is happening now and that more should be done by key leaders to help Florida deal with climate change. The survey is the first-ever study of Floridians' opinions about global warming and was conducted by researchers at Yale University and the University of Miami, with funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation.

A survey of 1,077 adults in Florida from May 1, 2008 to May 19, 2008 was fielded by Knowledge Networks, using a representative, online research panel. The survey's key findings include:

  • A majority of Floridians are convinced that global warming is happening (71%) and that global warming is caused mainly by human activities (55%), or caused equally by humans and natural changes (13%).

  • 65 percent believe that global warming is already having or will have dangerous impacts on people in Florida within the next 10 years.

  • 69 percent believe that parts of the state's coasts may need to be abandoned due to rising sea levels over the next 50 years.

  • Likewise, large majorities believe that global warming will cause worse storms, hurricanes and tornadoes (80%), droughts and water shortages (80%), flooding of major cities (68%), food shortages (68%), less tourism (64%), and increased rates of disease (57%).

"Floridians believe global warming will have serious consequences here at home and are growing increasingly concerned about the issue," said Dr. Kenny Broad, associate professor at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

In line with these concerns, large majorities support state policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, even if these policies impact their own pocketbook. For example:

  • 65 percent support requiring electric utilities to produce at least 20% of their electricity from wind, solar or other renewable energy sources, even it if costs the average household an extra $100 per year.

  • 65 percent support a state subsidy to encourage building owners to replace old water heaters, air conditioners, light bulbs, and insulation, even if it cost the average household $5 a month in higher taxes.

  • 63 percent support the installation of solar panels on state-owned buildings, even if the electricity generated is significantly more expensive than what state government normally pays for its electricity.

"Large majorities of Floridians want Governor Crist, their state legislators, and their own mayors to do more to address global warming," said Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz, Director of the Yale Project on Climate Change at Yale University. "Many Floridians also say they are willing to act individually to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

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University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

Founded in the 1940's, the Rosenstiel School has grown into one of the world's premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, please visit www.rsmas.miami.edu

University of Miami Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy (CESP)

The mission of the CESP is to create innovative, interdisciplinary initiatives that bridge the gap between science and environmental policy. The Center is the nexus for a new and flexible undergraduate program that gives students the opportunity to learn in a problem-solving context and gain substantial field experience. www.cesp.miami.edu/

The Yale Project on Climate Change (YPCC)

The YPCC is an initiative of the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies that seeks to elevate public discourse and encourage public engagement with climate change science and solutions. http://environment.yale.edu/climate/

Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED)

CRED is an interdisciplinary center that studies how people perceive and act on global warming. Located at Columbia University, CRED is affiliated with The Earth Institute and the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP). Major funding is provided by the National Science Foundation. www.cred.columbia.edu

Media Contacts:
Barbra Gonzalez
UM Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
305.421.4704
barbgo@rsmas.miami.edu

Marie Guma-Diaz
UM Media Relations Office
305.284.1601
m.gumadiaz@miami.edu

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