WASHINGTON — Somehow climate change has become one of those polarizing topics to bring up around happy hour or the dinner table. When heading to holiday dinners or interviewing for jobs, the advice is always "don't talk about religion and politics", now you could easily add climate change to that list.
Recent surveys and research suggest that more people are concerned about global warming and climate change.
The Yale Program on Climate Change Communication released a Climate Opinion Map, which shows estimates of how Americans perceive climate change at the national, state and local levels.
The map allows users to zoom to their state, county or congressional district to get an estimate of climate opinions regionally.
In summary, the survey estimates that more 50% of D.C. Metropolitan area believes that global warming is happening.
The survey estimates that 80% of people in the district believe that global warming is happening. The opinion map also estimates that 75 percent of D.C. residents believe that global warming is affecting the weather.
In Maryland, the survey estimates that 73% of residents believe global warming is happening and 67% percent believe that global warming is affecting the weather.
For Virginia, the climate opinion map estimates that 69% of residents believe global warming is happening and that 62% believe it is impacting the weather.
In West Virginia, the survey estimates 54% of residents believe global warming is happening and 44 percent believe that global warming is impacting the weather.
Survey questions included topics such as belief, risk perception, and policy.
ACROSS THE NATION
Nationwide, The Pew Research Center found that the majority of Americans believe that protecting the environment and dealing with climate change should be top priorities for elected federal officials.
In a 2019 Pew Research Center survey, 56 percent of Americans shared that view.
Pew officials said that since 2011, Americans have shown an increase in support to prioritize policies on the environment and climate change.
"One of the factors in this rising concern is people seeing the effects of climate change where they live," Cary Funk, Director of Science and Society Research at Pew Research Center said.
She said opinions vary based on where people live in the country.
"Looking at a regional perspective, people in the Atlantic region, which includes people from D.C., Virginia, Maryland and even Delaware, these folks are more likely to talk about rising sea levels and the potential effect they have on eroding shorelines," Funk said.
There is still some divide along political lines when it comes to opinions on global warming and climate change.
"Center surveys have shown that there is a growing concern about climate change in the U.S. That's gone up since 2013, but the change is primarily among Democrats, not Republicans."
Yale's Climate Climate Opinions by Political Party estimates that 50 percent of registered Republicans in the U.S. believe global warming is happening vs 82 percent of registered Democrats.
In the DMV, Yale's survey estimates that more than 80 percent of Democrats in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, and D.C. believe that global warming is happening.
In West Virginia, 79 percent of Democrats believe that global warming is happening.
The political party opinion map estimates that a little more than 50 percent of Republicans in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia believe that global warming is happening and a little more than 45 percent of Republicans in West Virginia and Delaware believe that global warming is happening.