A new poll finds that the percentage of Americans who believe that the climate is warming has increased in the past year, a shift in opinion that follows one of the warmest summers in U.S. history and increased debate about climate change among Republican presidential candidates.
(Reuters) – For the first time in 10 years Americans are more likely to say the United States should give more priority to developing oil, natural gas and coal than to protecting the environment, according to a poll on Tuesday.
The poll was conducted a few weeks before President Barack Obama announced he would open offshore oil drilling in some parts the U.S. East Coast, Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.
Half of 1,014 U.S. adults, who were surveyed March 4-7 by Gallup, said the country should give more priority to developing and producing the fossil fuels.
According to a poll conducted by the Gallup Organization in early March , Americans are less concerned about eight specific environmental issues than they were one year ago. Fewer than half of those surveyed–32 percent–said they felt that that climate change will have an impact on their way of life as compared to a high of 40 percent in 2008.
Close to 50 percent of Americans believe the threat of global warming is exaggerated. Fifty-three percent believe that economic growth, especially with regard to jobs and unemployment, is more important even if it has a negative impact on the environment, according to Frank Newport, Gallup’s editor in chief, as quoted in an article in USA Today .
Surprisingly, many Americans perceive that environmental woes in the US are improving; those polled were less concerned about other environmental problems than at any other time in the past 20 years. According to Gallup, in 1989, 72 percent of Americans were worried about pollution of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs.
By 2004, only 54 percent were concerned, and 46 percent are worried about water pollution today. Concern about pollution of drinking water is at the top of the list.
Concern about global warming among U.S. adults has dropped significantly, a new poll says, with fewer than 50 percent of Americans saying they are “somewhat” or “very worried” — a 13 percent decrease from a poll taken in October 2008.
The percentage of Americans who believe global warming is occurring fell 14 percent to 57 percent, and the percentage who think global warming is caused primarily by human activities fell 10 percent to 47 percent, according to the poll funded by the Yale Project on Climate Change and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication.