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Young climate protesters hold signs in London

A new poll shows that a strong majority of teens think failure to act now on the climate crisis could render "some parts of the planet unlivable." (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

84% of US Teens Back Urgent Climate Action to Save Future Generations: Poll

A new national survey also found that less than half of teens think political leaders are doing enough to address environmental concerns.

Andrea Germanos

A new poll reveals widespread concern among U.S. teens for the climate, with a strong majority saying that action is needed now to save planet Earth.

Conducted by The Harris Poll for the National 4-H Council and first reported by Axios, the national survey of 1,500 13-19-year-olds reveals most youth have already witnessed environmental changes and expect a changed environment to impact their lives in the years to come.

Eighty-four percent of respondents agreed with the statement: "If we don't address climate change today, it will be too late for future generations, making some parts of the planet unlivable."

That same percentage said that the climate crisis "will impact everyone in my generation through global political instability."

The environment is clearly weighing heavily on teens' minds.

The poll found that 89% of teens regularly think about the environment. That's especially true of the older respondents; 92% of 18-19-year-olds reported thinking about it often or sometimes. The teens' concern is evident, with 75% of all the respondents expressing worry about the future of the planet.

Eighty-four percent of the teens also expressed concern that "if we don't do more to protect the environment, humans, and other species, wildlife will suffer and possibly go extinct."

Governments, the teens said, are falling far short in taking sufficient action to rein in the planetary crisis.

Just 45% agreed that "political and global leaders are making a meaningful effort to prevent environmental hazards to protect their citizens."

Environmental protection, said 79% of respondents, must be prioritized over economic growth.

The survey was conducted January 5 to January 18, as President Joe Biden faced calls to declare a climate emergency and federal scientists said the planet just had its sixth warmest year on record.

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