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New Poll: Majority Of Louisiana Voters Believe In Climate Change

BDPC LLC + Pinsonat
Of the respondents who said they believe in climate change, 50 percent said they believe climate change was directly impacting their lives. 72 percent said they believed it would impact future generations in Louisiana.

A strong majority of Louisiana voters believe in climate change, according to anew poll sponsored by several environmental groups.

About 1,000 “chronic voters” in Louisiana were surveyed by phone for the poll, which was conducted by political consulting firmBDPC LLC + Pinsonat for the Restore the Mississippi River Delta coalition.

Seventy-one percent of respondents said they “believe in climate change.” Of that group, 50 percent said they believe that climate change is having a direct impact on their life. Seventy-two percent of those who said they believe in climate change said they think it “will have a direct impact on future generations in Louisiana.”

Steve Cochran, Campaign Director for Restore, said he expected those numbers to be lower since conversations around climate change in the state have typically been quiet.

"I think [the conversation is] changing, frankly, because of what we've seen,” Cochran said. “Not only coastal impacts, but rainfall extremes all across the state.”

Political consultant Greg Rigamer also expected lower numbers. He suggested the survey's result were indicative of “a fundamental belief that something is changing” among Louisiana voters.

The survey did not ask respondents whether they thought humans were the cause of climate change, but the results are in line with other recent polls. A Gallup poll publishedthis spring found that 53 percent of people in the South believed the effects of global warming had already begun.

Also of note in the Restore poll: 55 percent of respondents were familiar with sediment diversions, which are one of the primary ways the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority plans to build and maintain coastal wetlands in the long-term.

Sediment diversions would use the sediment in the water of the Mississippi River to build land, by funneling part of the river’s flow into nearby degraded marshes.

They’re most controversial in the coastal parishes where the’ve been proposed: Plaquemines and St. Bernard. Many in the commercial fishing industry oppose diversions, claiming the influx of freshwater will negatively impact the brackish estuary where they make their living.

According to the new poll, 68 percent of respondents in those parishes support sediment diversions, with 23 percent opposed. Statewide, 82 percent said they supported diversion projects.

Support for the Coastal Desk comes from the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, and local listeners.

As Coastal Reporter, Travis Lux covers flood protection, coastal restoration, infrastructure, the energy and seafood industries, and the environment. In this role he's reported on everything from pipeline protests in the Atchafalaya swamp, to how shrimpers cope with low prices. He had a big hand in producing the series, New Orleans: Ready Or Not?, which examined how prepared New Orleans is for a future with more extreme weather. In 2017, Travis co-produced two episodes of TriPod: New Orleans at 300 examining New Orleans' historic efforts at flood protection. One episode, NOLA vs Nature: The Other Biggest Flood in New Orleans History, was recognized with awards from the Public Radio News Directors and the New Orleans Press Club. His stories often find a wider audience on national programs, too, like NPR's Morning Edition, WBUR's Here and Now, and WHYY's The Pulse.

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