Two-thirds of New Jerseyans say they are concerned about the impact that climate change will have on them, but according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll conducted in collaboration with the New Jersey Climate Change Alliance at Rutgers University, residents have varying levels of knowledge about different aspects of climate change.
According to the poll, conducted statewide from March 29 through April 9 of 1,008 New Jersey adults, 37 percent say they are “very concerned” about the effects of climate change on their life or family members and the people around them. Another 30 percent are “somewhat concerned,” and the remaining third is “not very” (15 percent) or “not concerned at all” (18 percent).
“These results underscore the challenges that New Jersey and other states face when addressing climate change,” said Jeanne Herb of the Rutgers Bloustein School of Policy and Planning New Jersey Climate Change Alliance at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “Most New Jerseyans show some concern about climate change but are uncertain of how to address it both personally and through public policy.”
Almost four in ten say they know “a lot” about its causes and its impact on the environment; a third say the same about climate change’s effect on the future, and one in five say the same about how to prepare.
And just where do they get their information? Residents are most likely to say they “frequently” get information about climate change from the mass media (53 percent), followed by social media (29 percent) and other people (18 percent). Just one in ten cite “frequently” getting news from their local community organizations or state government.
On the policy side, more favor the state government combating climate change by offering incentives (45 percent) to reduce greenhouse emissions rather than imposing limits (29 percent). Yet when asked who should pay to make New Jersey more resilient to the impact of climate change, 62 percent want the fuel producers and heavy users that cause the most greenhouse gas emissions to pay a “major share” of the cost while another 22 percent say they should pay a “minor share.” Forty-three percent believe state government should pay a “major share” from the taxes it collects; another 35 percent say they should pay a “minor share.”
“These poll results provide important input for efforts to advance sound, science-informed climate change discourse and policy here in New Jersey,” said Marjorie Kaplan, associate director of the Rutgers Climate Institute.