Almost three-quarters of New Jersey residents believe climate change is already affecting the state. Two-thirds believe it is a crisis or a major problem, according to a Stockton University poll released yesterday.
The views of residents who live in counties along the shore or Delaware Bay (Monmouth, Ocean, Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and Salem) were statistically similar to those statewide.
Among those who believe climate change is currently affecting New Jersey, more than 75% cited rising sea level, earth warming, harming or changing the ocean, extreme weather and worsening pollution as major problems. Beach erosion was cited by 70% as a major problem, while harm to farming was mentioned by 68%, flooding by 66% and health effects by 57%.
Sixty-four percent of respondents believe climate change is caused mainly by human activity and burning fossil fuels. Twenty-seven percent believe it is a natural occurrence.
More than half of respondents (56%) believe government could or should do more, and 31% say the government response is totally inadequate. Ten percent believe the government response has been strong and appropriate.
Views did vary along party lines. Democrats (92%) and independents (64%) were more likely to see climate change as a crisis or major problem than Republicans (35%). Women (72%) were also more likely to view it as a crisis or major problem than men (62%).