03:26 GMT +323 February 2019
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    A climate activist demonstrates in Paris, Saturday, Dec.12, 2015 during the COP21, the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

    Americans Now Care Less About Climate Change Than Three Decades Ago

    © AP Photo / Matt Dunham
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    Less Americans identify themselves as environmentalists and express less concern about various environmental issues compared to nearly three decades ago, according to a new poll released by Gallup on Friday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Gallup attributed the decline to the issue of the environment becoming more "politicized," especially in the context of the debate on climate change in the United States and how to address it.

    "As Americans observe Earth Day, Gallup finds 42% of Americans identifying themselves as environmentalists, down from an average of 76% in the late 1980s and early 1990s," the poll read.

    Moreover, Gallup found that Americans are also less concerned about various environmental problems such as pollution of air, rivers, lakes and reservoirs and polluted drinking water, but are more concerned about issues like climate change than nearly three decades ago.

    The results of the poll come as leaders from over 100 countries signed a UN agreement on climate change which aims to limit global average temperatures to less than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

    The UN deal also seeks to establish more financing for lowering greenhouse gas emissions and support more climate-resilient development. 

    ​In 1991, the same high percentage of Republicans and Democrats (78%) considered themselves environmentalists. Today, 27% of Republicans think of themselves that way, compared with 56% of Democrats, a partisan gap of 29 percentage points.

    The decline in Americans' willingness to identify themselves as environmentalists is likely a result of many factors, including the politicization of environmental issues and the routine nature of recycling and other simple, environmentally friendly actions people might have once associated with environmentalism. Also, it is possibly because the term is less commonly used or may have taken on a different meaning than in the past.


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