Climate culture in Massachusetts
A recent poll shows whether or not most Massachusetts residents believe in man-made climate change, and whether our 2008 emissions goals are actually considered a priority by everyone.
Friday, April 15, 2011 - 14:15
MASS CLIMATE POLICY: With the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008, Massachusetts promised to reduce 80 percent of its CO2 emissions by 2050. (Photo: monkeyatlarge/Flickr)
A new poll was recently conducted in Massachusetts to determine state residents' attitudes toward climate change. MassInc surveyed 1,311 adults from across the state in order to understand their engagement in a "culture of climate protection."
The phrase comes from the report titled The 80 Percent Challenge. It refers to the need for participation from a wide variety of stakeholders in Massachusetts, so that we can meet the goals set forth in the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008. (The full text of the act can be found here.) These goals include reducing CO2 emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, and by 2020 reducing between 10 and 25 percent of the state's overall emissions.
The report states that we are in fact on track to achieve a 25 percent reduction by 2020; however, as the easier solutions are exhausted, Massachusetts needs to foster the "culture of climate protection" to reach the 80 percent goal.
The results of the MassInc poll show that "while most residents still do not look at global warming as a high long-term priority, a majority sees it as a problem, supports policy efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions, and takes steps as individuals to reduce their personal energy consumption."
Climatide, a blog about how climate change affects Cape Cod, gave a visual representation of the categories that polled residents were placed in:
Convinced residents stated that climate change is definitely happening, is caused at least partly by anthropogenic actions, and is a "very serious" issue (33 percent of residents polled).
Receptive residents believe that climate change is happening, and is at least partly caused by humans, but it's not a "very serious," urgent issue (26 percent).
Residents who fell into the dubious category agreed or were unsure about whether climate change is happening, and stated that they were either unsure of its causes, or that the causes were natural.
Dismissive residents stated that climate change is not happening. (17 percent.)
Which one of the categories would you consider yourself in? In order to meet the 80 percent CO2 emission reduction target, individuals will have to start making personal choices to reduce their carbon footprint. Will we meet our goals without 100 percent agreement from the Massachusetts public?
Photo: Richard Smith/Wikimedia Commons
Graph: Heather Goldstone c/o Climatide