Kathleen Maxwell has lived in Phoenix for more than 20 years, but this summer was the first time she felt fear, as daily high temperatures soared to 110 degrees or hotter and kept it up for a record-shattering 31 consecutive days.
“It’s always been really hot here, but nothing like this past summer,” said Maxwell, 50, who last week opened her windows for the first time since March and walked her dog outdoors for the first time since May. “I was seriously scared. Like, what if this doesn’t end and this is how it’s going to be?”
Maxwell blames climate change, and she’s not alone.
New polling from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research indicates that extreme weather, including a summer that brought dangerous heat for much of the United States, is bolstering Americans’ belief that they’ve personally felt the impact of climate change.
About 9 in 10 Americans (87%) say they have experienced at least one extreme weather event in the past five years — including drought, extreme heat, severe storms, wildfires or flooding — up from 79% who said that just a few months ago in April. And about three-quarters of those believe climate change is at least partly to blame.
In total, 64% of U.S. adults say both that they’ve recently experienced extreme weather and that they believe it was caused at least partially by climate change, up from 54% in April. And about 65% say climate change will have or already has had a major impact in their lifetime. [Continue reading…]