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US Pew Poll: Climate less of a problem

October 24, 2009

The results of the latest Pew poll on climate change was released this week for people & the press.

The results somewhat echoe those of the Lowy poll results in Australia which I discuss here

Here are a few highlights.

Fewer Americans than before think that there is evidence that the world is warming – only 57% now – and fewer than before think that climate change is a very serious problem – only 35%.

A smaller minority than before think that there is a link of climate change to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

55% of those polled had not even heard of cap and trade, and of the 14% that had heard a lot, 64% oppose it.  (A higher proportion of Republicans claim to have heard ‘a lot’ about cap and trade).

50% favour limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

Conservative Republicans are the only political group in which a majority (60%) opposes setting limits on carbon dioxide emissions. Most moderate and liberal Republicans (51%) favor this policy, as do an identical percentage of independents and a majority of Democrats (58%).

Opinion about cap and trade is related to views about global warming. About three-fourths (74%) of those who think the earth is warming and it is mostly caused by human activity favor cap and trade legislation.

Some surmise that shifting opionion might be due to considerable coverage of views contesting climate change science in the press, as well as the impact of the recession in dimming interest in climate change as a priority issue.

Happily, a majority (56%) of Americans thinks the United States should join other countries in setting standards to address global climate change.

At least the US Administration can feel that they have some form of mandate to reach an agreement at the UNFCC on a post-Kyoto framework in Copenhagen in December.

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