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Americans Want Preparedness For Extreme Weather And Rising Seas, Stanford Survey Shows

Mar 29, 2013 09:45 AM EDT

An overwhelming majority of Americas want to make preparations in order to minimize the damage that's likely to be caused by global warming-induced sea-level rise and storms, a survey from Stanford University determined.

Eighty-two percent of Americans surveyed said that people and organizations should prepared for damage likely to be caused by storms and rising seas, rather than dealing with the damage after it happens.

The public sentiment comes in the wake of cleaning up after several major storms that have pummeled the U.S., most recently "superstorm" Sandy that wrecked the American east coast in October 2012, causing more than 100 deaths and upwards of $70 billion in damage.

The survey shows strong public preference to have disaster preparedness measures already in place ahead of future storms, but an equally strong population feels that properties and businesses located in hazardous areas should food the bill for the disaster preparedness, not the government.

"People support preventive action," said survey director Jon Krosnick, a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, in a statement, "and few people believe these preparations will harm the economy or eliminate jobs. In fact, more people believe that preparation efforts will help the economy and create jobs around the U.S., in their state and in their town than think these efforts will harm the economy and result in fewer jobs in those areas. But people want coastal homeowners and businesses that locate in high-risk areas to pay for these measures."

The survey of 1,174 American adults was conducted via the Internet over a two-week period in early March.

Among the respondents, 48 percent favored sand dune restoration and 33 percent favor efforts to maintain beaches with sand replenishment, while 37 percent support relocating structures away from the coast and 33 percent support constructing sea walls.

Eighty-two percent of the survey's respondents believe that the Earth's temperature is rising, and even among the fraction of those surveyed who doubt the existence of climate change, 60 percent still favor preventative measures.

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