Wind power in the western Finger Lakes
Wind in New York Wind power in the western Finger Lakes © Mathew Levine?TNC


The Debate is Over: New Yorkers Say Climate Change is Real and Call for Action

New Research Released by The Nature Conservancy Shows New Yorkers of All Stripes Want Lawmakers to Take Immediate Action

Albany, NY

More than 80 percent of New Yorkers believe climate change Is happening, and nearly 3 in 5 believe it will harm them personally.

New research released today by The Nature Conservancy shows that New Yorkers overwhelmingly believe that climate change is happening – and they want their lawmakers to take action now to fight it. A majority of New York voters – across partisan, regional, class, and ethnic lines – support both a carbon pollution fee for major polluters and a clean transportation fund to reduce pollution and slow the effects of climate change.

“This research is proof that any ‘debate’ is over. From worsening severe weather to devastating flooding year after year, New Yorkers are seeing the impacts of human-made climate change, and they are ready for our leaders to take concrete action to fight it,” said Amanda Lefton, New York deputy policy director for The Nature Conservancy. “From incentivizing good corporate behavior with a carbon pollution fee, to helping municipalities adopt greener transportation policy through a clean transportation fund, it’s time for our lawmakers to hear what voters are saying and implement policies that will move the needle and protect New Yorkers and their communities from climate change.”

The research, conducted by a bipartisan research team, FM3 Research and American Viewpoint, found New Yorkers clearly support work to slow the effects of climate change and protect the environment from further damage:

  • Four in five (81 percent) New York voters believe that climate change is occurring, and two-thirds (67 percent) are "extremely" or "very” sure. More than three in five (62 percent) say that climate change is caused mostly by human activities.
  • More than three-quarters of New York voters (76 percent) support establishing a carbon pollution fee in New York, which would require major polluters – such as oil and natural gas companies – to pay a fee for each ton of carbon pollution they emit.
  • More than 80 percent of New Yorkers support the creation of a clean transportation fund, which would invest in cleaner public transit vehicles, increase electric vehicle charging stations in public spaces and invest in efforts to make municipalities more walkable for residents.
  • A majority of Republicans support both the carbon pollution fee (56 percent) and the clean transportation fund (68 percent) and agree that climate change demands action.

New York State is positioning itself as a national leader in combatting climate change. Last month, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his commitment to make New York State carbon neutral by 2040, adding to a number of city and state initiatives proposed to reduce carbon pollution. This new research shows New York voters overwhelmingly support these efforts to increase clean energy usage (76 percent), reduce overall pollution (75 percent), and construct new clean energy generation facilities, including solar, wind and hydroelectric power.

View the full results of the research.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.