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Americans want local leaders to fight warming, poll finds

Associated Press 

WASHINGTON — Americans want their local officials to take on the challenge of battling global warming now that President Trump is withdrawing the nation from an international climate change agreement.

That is the finding of a new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago.

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The poll finds 57 percent of Americans say they favor local governments picking up the slack to try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on their own, with only 10 percent opposing it. About 55 percent of Americans say their own local and state governments should be doing more to address global warming.

And more Americans oppose than favor Trump’s effort to pull out of the 2015 Paris accord, in which nearly 200 nations agreed to self-imposed cuts or limits on emissions of heat-trapping gas pollution.

Forty-two percent of those surveyed said they oppose getting out of the Paris agreement, while 28 percent favored the withdrawal and 28 percent had no strong opinion.

Among Democrats 64 percent want to stay in the Paris agreement and 17 percent don’t. More Republicans favored withdrawing, 46 percent, than staying in, 22 percent.

Local governments can get things done, said Antonio Torres, a former chef in central Florida. He would like to see local governments bring more solar energy use online.

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That rings true with Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, who cochairs two committees of mayors who are fighting climate change. One of her groups has 115 cities committed to operating entirely on renewable energy by 2035.

‘‘We’re leading the conversation because we have to now,’’ Biskupski said.

Overall, 72 percent of Americans say they believe climate change is happening and 63 percent think human activity is at least partly responsible.