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March 10, 2008

First Survey of New Yorkers on Climate Change Finds Majority Worried about Impacts


A new survey of New Yorkers finds that a majority of respondents are convinced global warming is happening now and more should be done by key leaders to help New York City deal with climate change.


Most New Yorkers are convinced global warming is a reality and that more should be done locally, according to a new survey.
Photograph by Eileen Barroso

The survey is the first-ever study of New Yorkers’ opinions about global warming and was designed and funded by researchers at Columbia and Yale Universities, and led by the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED) at Columbia.


The survey, conducted by Princeton Survey Research International, is based on English and Spanish telephone interviews with a representative sample of 1,000 adults living in New York City’s five boroughs.


The interviews took place from November 28 to December 16, 2007. The survey’s key findings include:

  • A large majority of New Yorkers are convinced that global warming is happening (78%), and of that number, 82 percent believe that global warming is caused mainly by human activities or caused equally by humans and natural changes.
  • A majority of New Yorkers (60%) say they are personally worried about global warming. About 52 percent believe dangerous impacts of climate change are either already happening or are imminent within the next 10 years.
  • Large majorities of New Yorkers believe that global warming will cause more heat waves (85%); energy blackouts (79%); worse storms, hurricanes and tornadoes (79%); increased rates of disease (72%); and flooding of subways, tunnels and airports (70%). 
  • Finally, a majority (69%) say it is likely that parts of New York City will need to be abandoned due to rising sea levels over the next 50 years.

© Columbia University