Americans Link Hurricanes and Heat Wave to Climate Change

UTICA, NY, Aug. 24, 2006 - As Americans recover from this summer's heat wave and mark the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, an overwhelming majority say they are more convinced that global warming is happening than they were two years ago, and they are also connecting intense weather events like hurricane Katrina and heat waves to global warming, according to a new Zogby America telephone poll.

The survey, sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation, was conducted Aug. 11-16, and included 1,018 respondents. It carries a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points.

Nearly three of every four – 74% – are more convinced today that global warming is a reality than they were two years ago, the survey shows. Dramatically, it is a sentiment shared by a majority of Democrats, Republicans, and political independents. While many more Democrats believe in global warming (87%), 56% of Republicans concur. Among independents, 82% think we are experiencing the effects of global warming. These numbers indicate a shift in the momentum of global warming believers.

Asked what influence global warming has had on specific weather events, 65% said they believe it had an influence on this summer's heat wave that baked the U.S., and 68% said they think it was a factor in development of more intense hurricanes like Katrina. Similar numbers are seen for other weather phenomenon including droughts, wildfires and snowfall.

"While the findings in this survey are not proof that intense weather events are linked to global warming, it is clear that Americans are making that connection," says pollster John Zogby. "It is also clear that there is a desire among Americans across the political spectrum to see steps taken to reduce greenhouse gases."

The survey also indicated there is strong support for measures to require major industries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to improve the environment without harming the economy – 72% of likely voters agreed such measures should be taken. That sentiment was consistent across a wide age spectrum of respondents, but there was some split along party lines. Among Democrats, 81% agreed major industries should be required to cut greenhouse gas emissions, while 61% of Republicans agreed. Among independents, 73% said major industries should be required to decrease certain emissions.

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