Survey: Government should act against climate change

Ninety percent of Floridians believe it’s happening

A recent Florida Atlantic University study has found that a whopping 90 percent of Floridians believe that climate change is happening.

In comparison, a recent Yale University survey showed that only 72 percent of all Americans have reached the same conclusion.

FAU’s Florida Climate Resilience survey includes questions on beliefs about climate change, experience with extreme weather events and support for climate-related policies.

The survey also shows that belief in human-caused climate change has surged among Florida Independents while slipping among Republicans in the state since last fall.

Still, the survey found enduring support among Floridians for increased government action to address the consequences of a warming planet. Results show that 68 percent of respondents want state government to do more, and 69 percent believe the federal government bears responsibility in finding solutions. This finding is consistent with previous surveys.

“Floridians support strengthening our resilience to the effects of climate change because they are experiencing it. The urgency to act means debate over causes is largely irrelevant,” said geosciences professor Colin Polsky, founding director of FAU’s School of Environmental, Coastal, and Ocean Sustainability (ECOS).

Of the 58 percent of Floridians who believe human activity is the cause of climate change, the survey found changing attitudes based on party affiliations.

Among Floridians who report no party affiliation, belief that climate change is caused by human activity has increased by 11 percent since the last survey in September 2023, to now 64 percent in the latest survey.

But belief in human-caused climate change among Florida Republicans declined during that time, dropping to 40 percent from the earlier 45 percent.

The survey also found noteworthy differences in opinion based on the age of the respondents.

Those under age 50 were more likely to believe that human activity is the cause of climate change than those 50 and older (66 to 50 percent) and more likely to want state government to do more to address its impacts (77 to 59 percent).

“Global warming became a major public issue in 1988. The age 50 cutoff is therefore a good proxy for separating people whose formative years included this issue versus those who did not,” said Polsky.

Climate change should be taught in schools, according to 67 percent of Floridians in the latest survey. More than two-thirds of respondents have supported climate education in classrooms in nine of the 10 surveys conducted since 2019.

Florida Democrats (87 percent) and independents (68 percent) expressed the highest level of support for climate education in the latest survey, but even a scant majority of Republicans expressed this belief (52 percent).

“This abiding majority support for K-12 teaching climate change confirms the premise that Floridians want more climate change awareness and action regardless of the cause,” Polsky said.

The survey also found falling support for solar power as the primary form of energy production that Florida should be supporting for the future: 51 percent of respondents agree with that statement, a decrease of 4 percent since last fall.

This decline has been happening since solar energy reached peak support of 62 percent in September 2022, but the recent drop was most pronounced among Florida Republicans.

While support for solar remained consistent among Florida Democrats and independents since the last survey, such support fell 9 percent among Republican respondents.

Overall, most respondents — 68 percent — said that climate change sparked their concern for the well-being of future generations.

But less than half of all respondents — 48 percent — said they would be willing to pay $10 a month to strengthen Florida’s infrastructure to weather hazards.

The survey, performed since October 2019, takes place every spring and fall. The latest edition was conducted in English and Spanish from March 18-21.

The sample consisted of 1,400 Floridians, ages 18 and older, with a survey margin of error of 2.53+ percentage points.

For more information, survey results and full cross-tabulations, visit / or contact Colin Polsky, at