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More Americans Believe Earth is Warming

The proportion of Americans who believe in global climate change is rising – likely in reaction to skepticism by the Republican presidential candidates, according to Reuters.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted September 8-12 found that 83 percent of Americans believe the Earth has been warming, up from 75 percent last year. About 71 percent of the Americans who believe warming is happening think that it is caused partly or mostly by humans.

These findings appear contradictory to a number of recent surveys. In a March Gallup poll, only 50 percent attributed global warming to human causes. In a June Rasmussen poll, the figure was 40 percent.

In another Gallup survey over 43 percent of Americans claimed the seriousness of the global warming issue has been generally exaggerated.

The September Reuters poll does suggest, however, that climate skeptics are digging in their heels. In 2010 the certainty of skeptics was 35 percent, while in 2011 it was 53 percent, the poll found.

Most of the Republican candidates have expressed doubts about whether global warming is man-made, with Rick Perry saying that a “substantial number” of scientists have manipulated climate data, and Michele Bachmann calling climate change a hoax. But this may have actually pushed acceptance, as Americans watching the debate are forced to think about their stance on the issue, according to Stanford University political science professor and Resources for the Future fellow Jon Krosnick, interviewed by Reuters.

He said voters were also likely influenced by reports this year that 2010 tied for first place as the warmest year since the 1880s.

The Reuters poll found that a majority of Americans from both political parties agree that global warming is happening. About 72 percent of Republicans believe it is real, compared to 92 percent of Democrats. And it could be an important issue in the 2012 elections, because about 15 percent of voters see it as their primary concern, Krosnick said.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll of 1,134 adults, including 932 registered voters, had a margin of error of 3 percentage points for all respondents and 3.1 points for registered voters.

Picture credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

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6 thoughts on “More Americans Believe Earth is Warming

  1. When I go to schools with my program, Climate Change is Elementary, I find kids totally open on this topic. I present both sides of the argument and tell them that they need to come to a personal conclusion. Since they are untainted by adult prejudices they literally universally conclude that there is a problem and that we should do something about it, or that even if the problem is overblown, we should get to work on it anyway. A fifth grader recently put it this way – “We know one day in our lifetime we will run out of oil. So whether global warming is real or not, doesn’t it make sense to make the shift to a clean green economy now rather than waiting until it is a big emergency?” I couldn’t have said it better. While we grownups haggle our kids are waiting for action. I’m reminded of the cartoon showing the speaker on stage with a list of benefits of conversion from carbon on a slide behind him, such as Energy Independence, Preserve Rainforests, Sustainability, Cleaner Air, Healthy Children, Drinkable Water, Cheaper Energy, Livable Cities — and the curmudgeon in the audience saying, “What if its a big hoax and we create a better World for nothing?” The kids see right through the denial and always want to know why some grownups reject science when they are being told that science education is important.

  2. Why is science and scientific decisions being driven by political opinion or popularity votes? Shame on the environmentalists and shame on the politicians. Scientific evidence already confirms that most of the enviromental change is driven by natural change. Unless we think humans are responsible for volcanoes, earth’s tilt, or our solar system movements, human activity is primarily a driver of local terrestrial issues like polution and human sustainability. Let’s keep focus on changing that behavior instead of thinking humans can rewrite science or stop planetary evolution. The best thing is to work with change rather than try to prevent it. For example, if we all stopped production and consumption, planetary tilt change will continue, continents will move, some areas get warmer, some areas ge colder, etc… Our challenge is with the resources we have, how do we work with these changes.

  3. Utter nonsense. Global temperatures have declined over the last 13 years. Sea levels are falling and have dropped 0.5 cm over the last year.

    CO@ caused global warming is physically impossible. Study wavelength absorption by gases and learn tis.

    You are all being fooled.

  4. Henry hits the home run…”something” is happening. Our knowledge says if we change our behaviour, we may improve the situation if only temporary. Better that than continue knowingly damaging. Poisoning water is common sense a bad idea. Poisoning the air is common sense a bad idea. Poisoning our bodies with fat and sugar is common sense a bad idea. Using cropland to grow fuel for cars while people in the world go hungry is common sense a bad idea.
    Why do people continue to support the Republican Tea Party…how do people like Perry and Bachmann get traction beyond their peers? It is important to remember that ignoring the foolish isn’t solving the problem, helping the sensible will make things change.

  5. Henry is spouting typical denier obfuscations. Humans are frantically dumping trillions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere; by burning vast reserves of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels that required literally millions of years to be naturally sequestered; and that we humans are releasing in a mere 100-200 years. That frenetic re-release has to have a vast impact on the natural climate.

    And William Jameson Meyers is even farther off any rational base. He has no concept of the science that is involved. Gobal temps have consistently gone up over many decades, not down. 13 years is too short a time to say anything about climate anyway (‘climate’ describes average weather over decades to centuries, not over a few short years). Sea levels are rising, not falling. CO2-caused global warming is a physical reality. If one studies the wavelength absorption by gases one sees that CO2 can and does absorb significant amounts of infrared energy. And it does lead directly to global warming. William, you may have fooled yourself, but most of the rest of us are not fooled.

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