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Majority of Alaskans believe climate change is happening

Published: Mar. 10, 2017 at 4:28 PM AKST
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Recently, the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication released its second edition of the Climate Change Opinion maps. The survey asked 17 different questions about climate change, including the cause, policies, and behaviors of Americans. The current set of maps can be broken down into state, congressional district, metro areas and county-borough levels.

"So it allows us to see the diversity across the country," says Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. "Alaskan's views are not the same as what you'd find in say Texas or Florida."

These maps are part of a larger study called Climate Change and the American Mind. The Yale program has been doing surveys two times a year, since 2008. Leiserowitz says since that time, they've seen a dramatic change in opinion.

"What we've seen in just the past couple of years is the belief that global warning is happening [and] has reached a new high level," says Leiserowitz. "Likewise, understanding that it's human-caused is at an all time high. Worry about climate change is at an all time high. Nineteen percent of Americans say they are very worried about climate change, and well over 60 percent say they're at least somewhat worried."

"So we are, overall, seeing an increased engagement with the issue of climate change, across the entire country," says Leiserowitz.

Alaskan's are close to the national average on many areas of climate change.

Regarding the question of if global warming is happening, the majority of Alaskans believe it is. The highest percentage comes in the Sitka area with 73 percent. That's 3 percent above the national level.

While Denali, Fairbanks North Star and Matanuska-Susitna Valley boroughs were below the national average with 66 percent of the population agreeing with the statement.

The lowest statewide percentage reached in the Lower 48 was 60 percent, in West Virginia; however, there are counties and parishes that drop below those totals.

Alaskans are a little more split on whether climate change is caused by humans or if it is natural changes. Nationally, 53 percent believe climate change is caused by humans, while 32 percent believe it's caused by natural changes. In Alaska, is very similar with 49 percent agreeing climate change is caused by humans and 32 percent saying it is occurring naturally.

The region with highest majority that believes climate change is human caused is the Northwest Arctic Borough, with 55 percent. The Kenai Peninsula and the Mat-Su Boroughs have the most people who believe it is naturally caused at 35 percent.

Explore the map above to see how your region feels about climate change.

The same survey was done in 2014. Click this

to compare to the previous year's maps.