By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – A new study by Florida Atlantic University (FAU) found that the majority of Floridians are concerned about the well-being of future generations due to climate change, and that Florida state government is not doing enough to address climate change impacts.
The findings are from the first-ever Florida Climate Resilience Survey conducted by the Florida Atlantic University Center for Environmental Studies (CES) in FAU’s College of Science, and the Business and Economics Polling Initiative (BEPI) in FAU’s College of Business.
The statewide survey shows that 68 percent of Floridians either agree or strongly agree that climate change has them concerned about the well-being of future generations in Florida. Only 28 percent said that Florida’s government (state, county and municipal) is already doing enough to address the impacts of climate change.
More than half of Floridians (56 percent) state that climate change is real and that it is largely caused by human activity, including 44 percent of Republicans, and 59 percent of Independents, and seventy percent of Democrats.
Colin Polsky, director of the FAU Center for Environmental Studies, who led the effort, explained the significant difference from the national political party positions that nearly half of Republicans considered human-caused climate change to be real.
“Nationally we tend to expect and see Republicans score much, much lower on that question than independents or Democrats,” he said. “The results from the Florida survey show much less difference.”
“In my experience in southeast Florida for the past five years, the private sector leaders are, regardless of party affiliation, not only actively concerned about challenges linked with our changing climate, but also committed to meaningful actions,” Polsky said.
“They’re even getting impatient. Now through this survey, we may be seeing similar support statewide for climate solutions grounded in innovation and entrepreneurship.”
Other highlights in the report show a majority of respondents are in favor teaching climate change causes, consequences, and solutions in Florida K-12 classrooms (68 percent). A majority of respondents support future solar energy production in Florida (51 percent).
Most Floridians are moderately or extremely concerned about hurricanes becoming stronger or more frequent (65 percent), temperatures rising (61 percent), and rising sea levels (59 percent).
Also almost half of respondents are willing to pay $10 per month to strengthen Florida’s infrastructure (such as bridges, roads, stormwater systems) to weather hazards (47 percent).
The survey was conducted in both English and Spanish from October 1st to October 15th. The sample consisted of 1,045 Floridians, 18 years of age and older, with a margin of error (credibility interval) of +/- 3.5 percent.
The data was collected using an online panel provided by Dynata. Responses for the entire sample were weighted to adjust for gender, race, income, education and region according to latest American Community Survey data.