Americans Want Climate Change Preparation, Don’t Want to Pay for It

by | Apr 1, 2013

An overwhelming majority of Americans want to prepare to minimize likely damage caused by global warming-induced sea-level rise and storms, but most citizens want people whose properties and businesses are located in hazard areas – not the government – to foot the bill for such measures, according to a survey conducted by the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Center for Ocean Solutions.

Some 82 percent of those surveyed said that people and organizations should prepare for climate change in advance, rather than simply deal with the damage after it happens. Among the most popular policy solutions identified: strengthening building codes for how to build new structures along the coast to minimize damage, favored by 62 percent of respondents, and preventing new buildings from being built near the coast, which was supported by 51 percent.

Eighty-two percent of respondents believe that the earth’s temperature has been rising over the last 100 years. However, even a majority — 60 percent — of those who doubt the existence of climate change favored adaptation measures.

Among the survey’s respondents, 48 percent favor sand dune restoration and 33 percent favor efforts to maintain beaches with sand replenishment. Thirty-seven percent support relocating structures away from the coast and 33 percent support constructing sea walls.

More people believe that preparation efforts will help the economy and create jobs around the US, in their state and in their town than think these efforts will harm the economy and result in fewer jobs in those areas.

The survey was conducted via the Internet with a sample of 1,174 American adults aged 18 and older. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent.

Last week, New York began listing climate change as a risk in its bond offerings, acknowledging that global warming poses a long-term risk to the state’s financial health. The state now lists climate change alongside warnings about other hazards including unresolved litigation and potential cuts in federal spending. It cites Hurricane Sandy and tropical storms Irene and Lee as examples of the financial risks associated with the phenomenon.

Photo Credit: The National Guard

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