American opinion cools on global warming

Jan 27, 2010

Public concern about global warming has dropped sharply since the fall of 2008, according to a national survey released today by researchers at Yale and George Mason universities.

The survey found:

• Only 50 percent of Americans now say they are "somewhat" or "very worried" about , a 13-point decrease.

• The percentage of Americans who think global warming is happening has declined 14 points, to 57 percent.

• The percentage of Americans who think global warming is caused mostly by human activities dropped 10 points, to 47 percent.

In line with these shifting beliefs, there has been an increase in the number of Americans who think global warming will never harm people or other species in the United States or elsewhere.

"Despite growing scientific evidence that global warming will have serious impacts worldwide, public opinion is moving in the opposite direction," said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change. "Over the past year the United States has experienced rising unemployment, public frustration with Washington and a divisive health care debate, largely pushing climate change out of the news. Meanwhile, a set of emails stolen from climate scientists and used by critics to allege scientific misconduct may have contributed to an erosion of in climate science."

The survey also found lower public trust in a variety of institutions and leaders, including scientists. For example, Americans' trust in the mainstream news media as a reliable source of information about global warming declined by 11 percentage points, television weather reporters by 10 points and scientists by 8 points. They also distrust leaders on both sides of the political fence. Sixty-five percent distrust Republicans Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sarah Palin as sources of information, while 53 percent distrust former Democratic Vice President Al Gore and 49 percent distrust President Barack Obama.

Finally, Americans who believe that most scientists think global warming is happening decreased 13 points, to 34 percent, while 40 percent of the public now believes there is a lot of disagreement among scientists over whether global warming is happening or not.

"The scientific evidence is clear that climate change is real, human-caused and a serious threat to communities across America," said Edward Maibach, director of the Center for Communication at George Mason University. "The erosion in both public concern and public trust about global warming should be a clarion call for people and organizations trying to educate the public about this important issue."

The results come from a nationally representative survey of 1,001 American adults, age 18 and older. The sample was weighted to correspond with U.S. Census Bureau parameters. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percent, with 95 percent confidence. The survey was designed by researchers at Yale and George Mason universities and conducted from December 23, 2009, to January 3, 2010, by Knowledge Networks, using an online research panel of American adults.

Explore further: Greater inequality within UK and US than some developing countries, trade 'footprint' shows

More information: A copy of the report is available at environment.yale.edu/uploads/A… balWarmingBeliefs201

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User comments : 14

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newsreader
1.9 / 5 (7) Jan 27, 2010
It just amazes me how stupid the average person is.
deatopmg
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 27, 2010
@newsreader
Polls, like "consensus", do not make a conjecture true or false.
helen2009fish
2.6 / 5 (5) Jan 28, 2010
if people living in America spent one week in Africa,they may change their attitude towards a fact instead of numbers.
iknow
2.1 / 5 (11) Jan 28, 2010
It just amazes me how stupid the average person is.


Never ceases to amaze me either ... we all (ones that have been to school) know its utter tosh.

When the "global warming" got debunked as FUD generated by ppl who were "experts" - it now called .."Climate Change" - the warming part didnt really work out. - isnt it a shame when facts get in the way of a good story?

And last time I looked ..ice is still on top of Mt Everest and pretty much covering our North and South poles. Or my fav one - north east passage "finally" open to commercial passage. Of course the fact that Russians have been using this strip of frozen water for a century is irrelevant.
iknow
1.8 / 5 (10) Jan 28, 2010
And I always forget the Copenhagen Climate Summit ... I mean they did such a good job on stopping G.Warming that they were snowed under while the meeting was still happening. And again such a great job that northern EU had the coldest winter for 30 years.

Damn, now if only they didnt have that meeting .. I could be applying sun cream while working in the pub beer garden, instead of freezing my ass here.
marjon
2.3 / 5 (7) Jan 28, 2010
It just amazes me how stupid the average person is.

It never ceases to amaze me how arrogant the 'educated' person is.
Noein
3.7 / 5 (9) Jan 29, 2010
Big oil's global warming denialism religious propaganda has been very successful in duping one of the most scientifically illiterate populations on the planet.
marjon
2.3 / 5 (6) Jan 29, 2010
Who was lying?

"Rajendra Pachauri was told that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment that the glaciers would disappear by 2035 was wrong, but he waited two months to correct it. He failed to act despite learning that the claim had been refuted by several leading glaciologists.

The IPCC’s report underpinned the proposals at Copenhagen for drastic cuts in global emissions. "

http://www.timeso...9081.ece

Reminds me of Rather's 'fake but true' excuse.

If the data is supports the story, why must there be such fraud?
otto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jan 30, 2010
It never ceases to amaze me how arrogant the 'educated' person is.
Or how gullible they can be.
mosahlah
not rated yet Feb 01, 2010
It's amazing to me how many people cannot see through the alarmist propaganda and hype and recognize the hysterical ideology compelling the AGW theocracy.
antialias
3 / 5 (2) Feb 01, 2010
Why don't we just forget about the US and get on with doing something about the climate. Let's exclude them from any and all such endeavours. This would lead to continued use of fossil fuels there while the rest of the world convert to sensible means of energy production/usage. Let their economy collapse when oil runs out and voila: no more problem.
Arkaleus
1 / 5 (1) Feb 08, 2010
Antialias,

It would give me the greatest joy to compete with your national economies while you are under the command of the greens. How long did you think your populations could tolerate it this time around, comrade? 40 years? 60? Maybe this time it will make it to the ripe old age of 100!

I will be happy to purchase whatever fuel is available, be it oil, natural gas, ethanol, or nuclear. You, on the other hand, will be quite busy keeping your green masters well paid and in luxury, while your lower classes starve and your middle classes are rationed and restricted within your prison-cities.

Enjoy your 21st century under the benevolent rule of the "enlightened" authoritarians. Just don't think you're going to get on with those who will remain free.

antialias
3 / 5 (2) Feb 08, 2010
It would give me the greatest joy to compete with your national economies while you are under the command of the greens.
Guess what: the national economy of my country (germany) _was_ under the command of the greens (in a coalition government with the social democrats) from 1998 to 2005. And you know what? We were export world champions for most of that time (occasionally being beaten out by Japan, but never by the US)

So, yeah. Green politics doesn't necessarily mean stupid politics. Thanks to them we now have a lead in eco-technology which is in demand all around the world.

Weird, huh? No breakdown in society, no over-taxation. Pretty sensible economic and ecology-politics all around.
Skeptic_Heretic
3 / 5 (2) Feb 10, 2010
Germany uses a "clean" coal infrastructure, not windfarms and solar plants.

Germany mines more coal per capita than the US. Your green energy initiatives are American standard practice. When you start setting up windfarms and solar plants to meet your 2020 coal/nuclear shutdown then I'll look at Germany as a model. As it is now, Germany is in the same boat as the US only with 1/4th the population and 1/4 the energy demand.

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