Two public opinion polls released in late August document Americans’ continued rejection of alarmist global warming predictions. The polls, conducted separately by Gallup and Nielsen, were designed to gauge international public confidence in climate change science and environmental policy.
Not Very Threatened
The Gallup poll reported only 55 percent of Americans say global warming is likely to be a serious threat to them and their families. That number is down nine percentage points from when the study was last conducted, in 2007-08.
Similarly, the Nielsen poll reported only 48 percent of Americans say they are concerned about climate change, a drop of 14 percentage points from 2007 levels.
Causation in Doubt
The Gallup poll also found only 50 percent of Americans say humans are responsible for climate change, a fall of 11 percentage points from the last survey. Gallup suggested that “while [Americans’] knowledge level has not changed in the past few years, the threat [they] feel from global warming has dissipated.”
Not a Top Priority
Nielsen analyst Todd Hale suggests concerns about the economy, rising gas prices, and debt have displaced concern about climate change.
“With financial concerns still on the minds of many Americans, they’re indicating less and less concern about climate change and other environmental issues,” Hale told Environment & Climate News.
The Nielsen poll also found although “83 percent of global online consumers say that it is important that companies implement programs to improve the environment, only 22 percent say they will pay more for an eco-friendly product.”
Nielson reported Americans are even less willing to pay more for eco-friendly products, with just 12 percent of consumers saying they would do so.
“These new polls confirm that elected officials are taking a political risk when they buy into speculative and scientifically unsubstantiated global warming claims,” said Heartland Institute science director Jay Lehr.
John Monaghan ([email protected]) is the legislative specialist for energy and environment issues at the Heartland Institute.
“World’s Top-Emitters No More Aware of Climate Change in 2010,” Gallup: http://www.gallup.com/poll/149207/World-Top-Emitters-No-Aware-Climate-Change-2010.aspx
“Global Warming Cools off as a Top Concern,” BusinessWire: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110828005020/en/Global-Warming-Cools-Top-Concern