Americans, including Republicans, are becoming more convinced that climate change is causing extreme weather and sea-level rise, according to a new poll from Monmouth University.

Nearly two-thirds of Republicans, 64%, now think climate change is happening, compared to 49% three years ago. And more of the general population, 78% compared to 70% three years ago, acknowledge climate change.

But many people still don’t agree with the consensus science that shows humans are the dominant cause of climate change. Only 29% of people say climate change is more from human activity than natural changes in the environment or some mix of the two.

Monmouth pollster Patrick Murray said he thinks climate-fueled disasters, including the wildfires in California, “have convinced folks that something is going on”. But Republicans tend to be less likely to acknowledge that humans are causing the problem.

He said the conclusion for American political candidates is that “the worse the effects of climate change become the more likely people are to believe in it, which is not a very good thing if you’re trying to stop it”.

The results come as Donald Trump and his key environment officials have been discounting a multi-agency report laying out the wide-scale and immediate risks climate change poses to the country.

Trump said he doesn’t believe the findings and the top appointees at the environmental protection agency and interior department have questioned the assessment too, saying it focuses on the worst-case scenario. The report investigates what will happen if greenhouse gases from power plants and cars continue to rise through the century in a business-as-usual scenario, but it also warns of serious consequences even if the world manages to rein in pollution sooner.

The administration has also been actively rescinding environment and climate regulations and trying to expand fossil fuel use that causes rising temperatures.

Trump’s position and his efforts are not in line with public opinion, according to the poll. A large majority of Americans support action by the US government to slow climate change. The poll did not, however, ask people about their support of specific strategies that could include increased costs for consumers.

In these critical times …

… help us protect independent journalism at a time when factual, trustworthy reporting is under threat by making a year-end gift to support The Guardian. We’re asking our US readers to help us raise one million dollars by the new year so that we can report on the stories that matter in 2019. Small or big, every contribution you give will help us reach our goal.

The Guardian’s editorial independence means that we can pursue difficult investigations, challenging the powerful and holding them to account. No one edits our editor and no one steers our opinion.

In 2018, The Guardian broke the story of Cambridge Analytica’s Facebook data breach; we recorded the human fallout from family separations; we charted the rise of the far right, and documented the growing impact of gun violence on Americans’ lives. We reported daily on climate change as a matter of urgent priority. It was readers’ support that made this work possible.

As 2019 approaches, we would like to ask for your ongoing support. In an era of disinformation campaigns and partisan bots, trustworthy news sources that sort facts from lies are under threat like never before. Unlike many others we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep The Guardian’s reporting open to everyone, regardless of what they can afford. But we depend on voluntary contributions from readers.

We’re in this together – with your support we can keep exposing the truth. We hope to pass our goal by early January 2019. We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported The Guardian so far.

A rally at City Hall calls on NYC to divest public money from banks that fuel climate change and to establish a municipal public bank to help fund the transition to a just, sustainable economy.

A rally at City Hall calls on NYC to divest public money from banks that fuel climate change and to establish a municipal public bank to help fund the transition to a just, sustainable economy. Photograph: Erik Mcgregor/Pacific Press via ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock

Please invest in our independent journalism today by making a year-end gift.