Fewer Americans See Solid Evidence of Global Warming: Overview - Pew Research Center for the People & the Press
There has been a sharp decline over the past year in the percentage of Americans who say there is solid evidence that global temperatures are rising. And fewer also see global warming as a very serious problem – 35% say that today, down from 44% in April 2008.Related story: Americans Not Worried About Global Warming - Environmental Capital - WSJ
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Sept. 30-Oct. 4 among 1,500 adults reached on cell phones and landlines, finds that 57% think there is solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been getting warmer over the past few decades. In April 2008, 71% said there was solid evidence of rising global temperatures.
Over the same period, there has been a comparable decline in the proportion of Americans who say global temperatures are rising as a result of human activity, such as burning fossil fuels. Just 36% say that currently, down from 47% last year.
The decline in the belief in solid evidence of global warming has come across the political spectrum, but has been particularly pronounced among independents. Just 53% of independents now see solid evidence of global warming, compared with 75% who did so in April 2008.
This issue has not registered widely with the public. Just 14% say they have heard a lot about the so-called “cap and trade” policy that would set carbon dioxide emissions limits; another 30% say they have heard a little about the policy, while a majority (55%) has heard nothing at all.
The small minority that has heard a lot about the issue opposes carbon emissions limits by two-to-one (64% to 32%).
“Perhaps the most interesting finding in this poll, aside from the precipitous drop in the number of Independents who believe global warming is a problem, is that the more Americans learn about cap-and-trade, the more they oppose cap-and-trade,” says Sen. James Inhofe (R., Okla.), a longtime skeptic of climate-change warnings.
Daniel Weiss at the left-leaning Center for American Progress, says the findings point to the effectiveness of “right-wing media personalities” in “distorting science while the mainstream media remains trapped in its ‘he said, she said’ narrative” about the science.