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Survey Shows Majority of Delaware Residents Want to Reverse Climate Change

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DOVER, Del. – More than three out of four Delawareans believe immediate action should be taken to reduce the effects of climate change, a recent survey shows.

The independent public opinion firm Responsive Management found that 79 percent of respondents were convinced climate change is happening, up from 70 percent in a 2009 DNREC study; seventy percent believe that sea level rise is occurring, up from 63 percent in 2009.

“Climate change affects all of us – impacting our economy, environment, public health and safety,” said Governor Jack Markell. “This survey confirms that a strong majority of Delawareans believe climate change is occurring, and we are committed to taking key actions to reduce its impact – by improving the state's resiliency, developing strategies for adaptation and preparedness and setting goals for greenhouse gas reductions.”

When asked whether individuals can personally take action to reduce climate change, 64 percent of respondents agreed.

"DNREC and Delaware Sea Grant have been working with citizens and community leaders throughout the state to increase their understanding of climate change and assist with on-the-ground efforts to address climate impacts," said DNREC Secretary David Small. "The survey verifies what we have found – that more Delawareans are aware and knowledgeable about climate change and the need to take action now."

Delawareans who took the survey supported the following key initiatives to address sea level rise:

  • Changing building codes and regulations to reduce risk in flood prone areas (85 percent)
  • Avoiding building new structures in at-risk areas (77 percent)
  • Increasing funding for research (72 percent)
  • Elevating buildings in at-risk areas using private funding (71 percent)
  • Increasing spending on projects aimed at sea level resiliency (70 percent)
  • Allowing beaches and wetlands to naturally migrate inland (64 percent)

The telephone survey polled 1,508 Delaware residents in New Castle, Kent and Sussex Counties and followed a similar 2009 DNREC study that assessed Delawarean's general knowledge of climate change and sea level rise and their support for action.

For the complete results of the 2014 Delaware Residents' Opinions on Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Survey, visit DNREC's website.

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