Americans still don't want to believe

Gallup has a new poll out, conducted using 1,012 Americans over the phone over three days early in March 2009. The results?

First the positive:

  • 60% of Americans are personally worrying about global warming a "great deal" or a "fair amount."
  • 53% of Americans believe the effects of global warming have already started.

Just as a reminder, the symptoms of global warming have been diagnosed from observations (and observations"), and this has been true for many years. Also, the impacts of global warming are also being felt already. Examples include the extinction of some species (notably the golden toad), the steady decline of artic sea-ice (which endangers the polar bear and other arctic species), melting permafrost, changing migration patterns, etc.

What else does the poll say?

  • 60% of Americans don't think global warming will pose a serious threat to themselves or their way of life.
  • 41% of Americans think the seriousness of global warming is exaggerated by the media.
  • Global warming ranks 8th out of 8 environmental issues Gallup asked about in terms of how much people are worried, including 40% of people who worry "not at all" or "only a little" about global warming.
  • Trends for all these show that people are worried less about global warming and think the seriousness is exaggerated than in previous years. All age groups except the 18-29 year olds show the trend in thinking the threat is exaggerated.

I'd like to insert a big sigh here.

Well, here's a prediction, then. There won't be significant political action to tax carbon emissions in the United States until a majority of Americans think global warming does pose a serious risk to their way of life. When this happens (and it will happen), it will be far too late to stop dangerous climate change from occurring. That is, unless the mainstream media starts covering the issue in a truly unbiased way (i.e., no longer presenting the big issue as controversial). That might convince the majority of Americans that they need to be concerned.

UPDATE:This just goes to show why some Americans still don't get it:

"We are cooling. We are not warming. The warming you see out there, the supposed warming, and I use my fingers as quotation marks, is part of the cooling process."

-- Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele, filling in for radio host William Bennett

1 comment:

Bhuvan Chand said...

Combating climate change may not be a question of who will carry the burden but could instead be a rush for the benefits, according to new economic modeling presented at “Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges & Decisions” hosted by the University of Copenhagen.

Contrary to current cost models for lowering greenhouse gases emissions and fighting climate change, a group of researchers from the University of Cambridge conclude that even very stringent reductions of can create a macroeconomic benefit, if governments go about it the right way.

“Where many current calculations get it wrong is in the assumption that more stringent measures will necessarily raise the overall cost, especially when there is substantial unemployment and underuse of capacity as there is today”, explains Terry Barker, Director of Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research (4CMR), Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge and a member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the Congress.