One of the best ways to gauge the American public’s understanding and views on the climate debate is conducted by Gallup’s annual Environmental poll. Conducted over March 3 to 6 of this year, the latest results show that Americans continue to underestimate the impact of environmental change taking place and are additionally wilfully ignorant of the issues.
Each year the poll asks several questions designed to peer into what the average American’s concern, knowledge and opinion is concerning global warming.
This year’s poll once again reinforces the continuing downward trend of concern that Americans have for their environment. When asked “how much do you personally worry about global warming” only 51% of respondents replied saying that they “worry a great deal” or “a fair amount.”
This downward trend appears to walk hand in hand with Americans self-professed understanding of global warming; suggesting that lack of understanding has led to complacency in the general populace: 80% of respondents said that they understood the issue “very well” or “fairly well”, up from 69% in 2001 and 74% in 2006.
When asked when the effects of global warming will begin happening, 49 responded that they had “already begun” while 18% believed that they would never happen.
Continuing the trend of ignorant bliss that seems to be prevalent throughout American society, more than 4 in 10 respondents say that the seriousness of global warming is being exaggerated in the news, while another 26 believed the news to be generally correct in their reporting of the seriousness.
Thankfully there is still 29% of Americans who understand that the seriousness of global warming is currently generally underestimated in the media.
As a result of the general ignorance being displayed in these numbers, there is no real surprise to see that those who understand the cause of global warming is split, with 52% believing it to be derived from human activities and 43 assuming it to be the direct result of natural causes.
And, unsurprisingly, as evidenced by the following table, Republicans are spearheading the fatal rush into ignorant idiocy.