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In recent polls conducted by Yale researchers, it has been found that though an overwhelming amount of Americans believe that climate change is happening, a significantly smaller amount believe that the effects of climate change will affect them in any way. Human beings are primarily hardwired for more “fight or flight” reactions; thus, responding to slow-moving issues like global warming is not backed by high motivation, and time is proving again and again that this is not a human strong suit. Though the short-term consequences are impersonal and are not extreme, the long-term consequences will be dire.

Additionally, this data is interesting because though it shows that Americans want to restrict the carbon emissions from coal powered plants, which is an increasingly negative externality, the United States government is likely to do otherwise. Though the majority of adults in every congressional district in America are in support of limiting carbon dioxide emissions, many in Congress agree with President Trump, who may move to eliminate leftover proposals from the Obama administration that planned to scale back the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Read an interactive article explaining the recent survey results in detail.