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The Sciences

Climate Change in the American Mind

The IntersectionBy Sheril KirshenbaumJanuary 29, 2010 1:49 AM


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I started a post this morning on the release of the new national survey out of Yale and George Mason regarding public beliefs and attitudes on global warming, but CM beat me to posting it. Still, it's important to emphasize my concern reading that public trust in scientists has decreased, while the number of Americans who do not think climate change will harm biodiversity is on the rise. Some more of the figures:

So amid growing scientific evidence that climate change will have--and indeed, is already having--real impacts around the world, there is a dramatic and dangerous disconnect with the American public. Unfortunately, we continue to live in an increasingly Unscientific America--where partisan politics, media spin, religious ideologies, and special interests hamper progress.

  • The percentage of Americans who think global warming is happening has declined 14 points, to 57 percent.

  • The percentage of Americans who think global warming is caused mostly by human activities has dropped 10 points, to 47 percent.

  • Only 50 percent of Americans now say they are “somewhat” or “very worried” about global warming, a 13-point decrease.

  • Sixty-five percent distrust Republicans Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sarah Palin as sources of information.

  • Fifty-three percent distrust former Democratic Vice President Al Gore and 49 percent distrust President Barack Obama.

  • The percentage of Americans who believe that most scientists think global warming is happening is now at 34 percent

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