July 21, 2023 7:00am

Climate change worries and doubts

Power Poll respondents concerned about climate change, lack of efforts to address it

Photo of David Waters
Memphis, TN Correspondent

Massive floods. Record heat waves. More and more extreme storms. Forest fires burning out of control. More air quality alerts and power outages.

Climate alarm bells are ringing across the country and all over the planet. And Power Poll Memphis members are worried.

Nearly half (46 percent) of those who responded to the July Power Poll said they were extremely worried about climate change. Another 37 percent said they were somewhat worried. Only 15 percent said they were not worried at all.

"We're seeing additional evidence every day in the media. Some may be overblown, but I believe it's probably worse than we want to acknowledge," wrote Power Poll member Mark White, creator and host of Our Memphis History.

Meanwhile, 75 percent of respondents believe governments, businesses and individuals should be doing more to address climate change.

"All governments need to be working on climate change. None are doing enough but Tennessee state government seems to be in denial," wrote member Dwayne Thompson, a state representative from Cordova.

On the other hand, 10 percent of respondents think we're doing too much. Three percent beleive we should do nothing.

"Until China decides it is in their best interests to stop opening coal-fired power plants, the best efforts of the U.S. and even Europe will hardly matter. China opened the equivalent of two new coal plants a week in 2022," wrote member Steven Brown, president of residential sales for Crye-Leike.

Despite growing concerns, a majority (53 percent) of respondents doubt that climate change will be a major issue in the 2024 presidential election. Thirty-one percent think it will.

Those results mirror a recent national survey by the Pew Research Center. Overall, 37 percent of Americans say addressing climate change should be a top priority for the president and Congress in 2023. And climate change ranked 17th out of 21 national issues included in the survey.

"Climate change and science are real. People are in denial because they like to avoid facing bad news," wrote member Jason Hood, executive vice president and chief legal officer of DH Management Group.

"Climate change is unlikely to be a major issue in the upcoming elections because there will be other distractions as some seek to deflect attention from apolitical issues to those that continue to divide people and stoke the culture wars--all for their own, personal benefit."

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About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of the most powerful, influential people in U.S. cities. It is not a scientific survey. But because the people responding to the surveys comprise the leadership structure of their cities, the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those in a position to make change. Power Poll is distinctly nonpartisan.

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