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What to make of new poll on global climate disruption?

1 min. read

An article at Huffington Post points out that, “If you follow the popular polls, you might think that Americans are growing ever more skeptical about man-made climate change -- despite the consensus among published climate scientists.”  However, according to new research by Jon Krosnick of Stanford University, that’s simply not the case:

Gallup and Pew polls show that the percentage of Americans that believe in climate change now hovers around 50 percent, but Krosnick's latest poll -- which asked the question in a more detailed way -- suggests the figure is 83 percent -- up from 79 percent in 1997. Of the global warming believers, the majority also reported thinking that the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities play a role. The trend held after the researchers broke the data down by political party: 66 percent of Republicans said climate change is happening.

Further, not a single U.S. state had a majority opinion on the skeptical side, noted Krosnick. Even in Oklahoma, the home of one of the country's most outspoken skeptics, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a large majority of the people polled agreed with the scientific consensus.

So, if the vast majority of Americans agree with the overwhelming scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change, then why does it often seem the “message is not getting across to Washington,” as Krosnick puts it?  We suspect that the denial themes are driven by the dirty energy interests that are threatened by the obvious solutions to climate disruption. After all, these industries are no strangers to heavy spending on anti-clean energy propaganda. I don’t know where public opinion really falls on global climate disruption, but this latest poll is interesting, to say the least.