Poll: Americans Don't Believe We Cause Warming
Written By: Cheryl K. Chumley
Published In: Environment & Climate News
Publication Date: August 1, 2008
Publisher: The Heartland Institute
Fewer than half of Americans polled by the Pew Research Center believe humans are causing global warming, and a declining number even believe the Earth is experiencing a warming trend. The survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, finds "roughly half, or 47 percent, of Americans say the Earth is warming because of human activity, such as the burning of fossil fuels."
Nearly as many, 45 percent of respondents, contend the higher Earth temperatures are due to "natural environment patterns," that no global warming exists, or that causes cannot be scientifically determined. Seventy-one percent of Americans believe the Earth is warming, down from 77 percent of Americans who held that belief last year. The six percentage point drop parallels falling, and in some parts of the country, record-low, temperatures over the past year that continued a decade-long trend of temperatures remaining flat or falling.
The survey confirmed wide discrepancies in belief between Americans identifying themselves as Democrat or Republican. Only 27 percent of Republicans surveyed believe humans are causing global warming. By contrast, 58 percent of Democrats blame global warming on humans.
Among Republicans, higher education brings even more skepticism. Pew reports "only 19 percent of Republican college graduates say that there is solid evidence that the Earth is warming and it is caused by human activity." Higher education has the opposite effect on Democrats: 75 percent of Democrats with a higher education believe global warming is caused mostly by humans.