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Most Russians believe global warming real - poll

MOSCOW, June 23 (RIA Novosti) - Most Russians believe global warming is a reality, according to a poll conducted on June 14-15 by the Public Opinion foundation.

The poll said two thirds of respondents believe the climate has become warmer in recent years, while 86% of those polled "had heard about global warming occurring on the Earth."

At the same time, 15% did not believe global warming was happening and 18% experienced difficulty in assessing whether the climate had changed at all.

Slightly more than half (51%) said that average temperatures in their region had risen, while 20% said that the local weather had remained unchanged, and 13% said the average temperatures had dropped over the past few years.

Half of those who believe global warming is real think it has a negative impact on human life, with 5% believing it has a positive influence and 3% saying it had no effect.

Half of those that believe global warming is real (or 33% of the total number) said it was completely down to human activity, while over 30% of the group (25% of the total number) said it was a result of a mixture of man-made and natural factors. And 8% said climate change was a natural phenomenon.

The opinion pollster said 5% believe that global warming is natural, 3% blame the destruction of the ozone layer, 2% put it down to natural anomalies and 2% to solar influence. Less that 1% said climate change is God's punishment and evidence of the end of the world approaching.

Over a third (36%) of respondents believe that global warming cannot be stopped.

The poll was conducted in 100 towns and villages in 46 Russian regions, territories and republics with 1,500 respondents taking part.

A first deputy emergencies minister said last week that by 2030 global warming and the melting of northern Russia permafrost could lead to a catastrophe destroying housing, infrastructure and forests.

Speaking during a roundtable in the Federation Council, Russia's upper house of parliament, Ruslan Tsalikov said over a quarter of housing in north Russia could be destroyed along with local airports, underground storage facilities, including oil reservoirs, if Siberia's huge permafrost started to melt further.

It would also threaten to release huge quantities of methane gas - Russia's permafrost is believed to hold 30% of the world's entire supplies.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, two thirds of the world's 25,000 polar bears could die by 2050, when the ice they use to hunt seals is expected to disappear due to global warming.

The majority of climate change experts, environmental groups and organizations say that global warming is caused by greenhouse gas emissions due to human activity, which is causing significant damage to the Earth. Others argue that the possible impact has not yet been proven.

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