78% of Americans believe climate change is a reality in wake of Hurricane Sandy

A new poll has found that 78% of Americans believe that global warming is a reality, and that even amongst the third of Americans who are skeptical of climate change claims by scientists 61% believe temperatures on the earth have risen over the past century.

Reason.com reports that the new AP-GfK poll indicates belief in global warming has increased significantly amongst Americans compared to only several years ago, when in 2009 only 47% of those skeptical of scientific climate change claims believed global temperatures had risen over the past hundred years.

Greater public belief in global warming is perhaps only a provisional reaction, however, to Hurricane Sandy's recent battering of the eastern coast, with polls indicating that climate change convictions tend to rise in the immediate wake of natural disasters. 85% of Americans believed global temperatures were rising following 2005's Hurricane Katrina, compared to 78% at present.

Despite the widespread public belief that climate change is a reality, only 57% of Americans believe that the US government should do a "great deal" to address global warming, while 53% have indicated that they are unwilling to pay higher prices to protect the environment.