Climate Change Has Arrived, but Americans May be the Least Likely in the World to Believe It

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Climate change is affecting all parts of the United States, but the majority of Americans aren’t very concerned.


A new study, known as the National Climate Assessment, says droughts, floods, heat waves and other forms of extreme weather are here to stay and yet multiple surveys reveal most Americans don’t take climate change or global warming very seriously.


Last June, a Pew Research Center poll showed only 40% of Americans listed global climate change as a major threat to the nation. Financial instability, Islamic extremism and nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea were more pressing among respondents.


Residents of other developed nations put climate change much higher on their lists. More than 50% of people in Canada, Australia, France and Germany considered the issue serious, while the percentages in Italy and Spain topped 60% and eclipsed 70% in Japan.


A Gallup survey conducted in March found only 35% of Americans said they worry a great deal about climate change. The percentage is higher among Democrats (56%), but lower among independents (29%) and Republicans (16%).


“This political differentiation of global warming attitudes is not isolated; other research shows that in today's political environment, Republicans are much more likely to say that concerns about global warming are exaggerated and that warming’s effects will not affect them personally in their lifetimes, and are less likely to say scientists believe global warming is occurring,” Gallup’s Frank Newport wrote.


Younger respondents, for the most part, are more concerned about climate change. According to Gallup, 38% of those aged 18 to 29 worry about global warming a great deal. For those 65 and over, only 24% worry about it a great deal.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Americans Are Outliers in Views on Climate Change (by Megan Thee-Brenan, New York Times)

Americans Show Low Levels of Concern on Global Warming (by Frank Newport, Gallup)

Climate Change and Financial Instability Seen as Top Global Threats (Pew Research Center)

U.S. Climate Has Already Changed, Study Finds, Citing Heat and Floods (by Justin Gillis, New York Times)

Climate Change Denial Gets Billions in Dark Money from Conservative Groups (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Temperatures Rising as Belief in Global Warming Drops (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)

Insurers Prepare for Climate Change…Except in U.S. (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


anonmouse 10 years ago
The people have gotten wise: Temperatures plateaued 15 years ago, as even the alarmists now concede (they say the heat's hiding in the oceans). Tornado frequency and intensity have fallen sharply since 2005. Same with hurricanes. And lightning strikes. "Superstorm" Sandy was a mere storm, not a hurricane; to cover their failure over many decades to spend the money to prevent catastrophic flooding, NY politicians blame the climate. Likewise, Katrina was a Cat 1 storm when it reached New Orleans, a city whose levees had withstood many such hurricanes since the devastating flooding of 1927 --- the levees' failure was due in part to GW Bush's decision to divert hundreds of millions of dollars budgeted for levee maintenance to Iraq. ... The science is not settled. Today, a study was released that found CO2's greenhouse gas effect is 35% less than the mean value used in the UN's climate models. ... What we know to be true of science is that it evolves; what we know of government policy is that it ossifies. (The drug "war" is a case in point.) Long after the science has moved on, laws and regulations -- enacted perhaps in good faith but with inadequate understanding --- will continue on the books, damaging people's lives and livelihoods; of course, it is the poorest who will suffer most of all.
Chuck Bridges 10 years ago
First it was called Global Warming and this winter season was record breaking suddenly they are calling it Climate Change but leaning to the droughts and fires more then the cold into may and polar vortex they had to make up a name for. When I was a child they said the ice age would come again and in the last 20 years they have decided it's getting warmer because the poles are melting and temps and water rise. They blame it on emissions which is something we have been paying extra for on our cars and factories have to have clean smoke and meet standards that seem to have done nothing to prevent any of it. Experts say its coming. Edgar Casey said the oceans would rise long before they agreed. The real problem is money... how can they change us over to something clean and efficient and still charge us up the banana's for it with out us having it in our back yard for free. Yes maybe this is a rant but it was an energy efficient one.
OurGov IsCorrupt 10 years ago
HAARP = "man made" climate change... Wish this article mentioned that..

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