A majority of Marylanders expect people's health in their communities to be affected by climate change in the next several years (55%), according to a new survey from the Center for Climate Change Communication in partnership with the Climate Communication Consortium of Maryland. State residents say breathing and respiratory problems (72%), injuries from extreme weather (61%), and heat stroke (55%) are likely to become more common in the state due to climate change.
"Climate change is already beginning to harm people's health, and will likely do so more in the future through increasingly dangerous weather, decreased air quality, and the spread of disease," said Dr. Edward W. Maibach, director of the Center for Climate Change Communication and one of the study's authors. "This report demonstrates that Marylanders are beginning to connect the dots between climate change and their health. They understand that climate change isn't just threatening penguins and polar bears anymore."
The study also shows that almost three-quarters of Marylanders (73%) believe that coal is somewhat or very harmful to people's health. Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar continue to be viewed by majorities as non-harmful (solar, 65%; offshore wind, 57%; land-based wind, 58%). In a supporting study released in 2014, more than two-thirds of Marylanders said they would like to see the state use more renewable fuel sources like wind (69%) and solar (78%).
For the past two years, George Mason University has partnered with the Climate Communication Consortium of Maryland on statewide surveys of climate change, energy and public health in the state. This is the last of four reports that have been released from the 2014 survey. The survey was mailed to 6,401 households in the state of Maryland. The survey was fielded from March 17 to June 10, 2014 with a response rate of 35%. The unweighted sample margin of error is +/- 2 percentage points at the 95% confidence interval.
February 22, 2015