Two New Polls Show Increasing Skepticism About Warming Crisis

Published February 11, 2014

New polling data show the American public is growing increasingly skeptical of assertions about an imminent global warming crisis. A Yale University/George Mason poll and an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll each show Americans are not very worried about global warming.

Only 15 Percent Very Worried
The Yale University Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication released a survey showing only 15 percent of Americans are “very worried” about global warming, whereas 23 percent believe global warming is not happening at all. A plurality of Americans—38 percent—believe global warming is happening but are only “somewhat worried” about it.

Most Americans don’t expect to be personally affected by global warming. Only 38 percent said they believe they will personally be harmed a “great deal’ or even a “moderate amount” by global warming.

Survey author Edward Maibach bemoaned the results and claimed Americans do not understand global warming issues.

“Our findings show that the public’s understanding of global warming’s reality, causes, and risks has not improved and has, in at least one important respect, gone in the wrong direction over the past year,” said Maibach in a summary of the survey results.

Warming Ranks Lowest Priority
The U.S. public’s lack of concern about global warming was affirmed a week later in a poll by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal showing global warming ranks dead last among 13 public policy priorities. The poll asked which issues should be a priority for President Barack Obama and Congress, and respondents could choose as many of the 13 issues as they liked.

Just 27 percent said addressing climate change should be a priority. A greater number—29 percent—said President Obama and Congress should not address the issue at all. A 41 percent plurality said Obama and Congress should wait before addressing climate change.

No other option was even close to the lack of support for climate change action. Enacting pension and entitlement reform ranked next-to-last at 38 percent.

UN Blames Democratic Processes
Christiana Figueres, executive director of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, blamed America’s democratic institutions for blocking progress on global warming. Figueres told Bloomberg News political gridlock in the U.S. Congress is “very detrimental” to reducing U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. Figueres praised China and its totalitarian regime as “doing it right” to address global warming.

According to the U.S. Energy Information administration, Chinese carbon dioxide emissions have tripled since 2000. U.S. emissions, by contrast, have declined by nearly 10 percent since 2000.

People Are Smart
“The American people are smarter than global warming activists think. As time goes by, they are more and more skeptical of the asserted global warming crisis,” said Jay Lehr, science director for the Heartland Institute, which publishes Environment & Climate News. “Americans realize the asserted global warming crisis is merely an excuse to justify giving money and power to government bureaucracies and environmental activist groups.”

James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is managing editor of Environment & Climate News.