US doesn't believe in global warming

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Americans care less and less about global warming, according to a survey.

Researchers at Yale and George Mason universities found that only half of Americans now say they are 'somewhat' or 'very' worried about global warming, down from 63 percent a year ago.

Indeed, only 57 percent even believe it's happening, down 14 percentage points in a year, and fewer than half now think it's caused by human activities.

There was also a big increase in the number of Americans who think global warming will never harm people in the US or elsewhere - though this may be because they expect to be airlifted to safety in the Rapture.

"Despite growing scientific evidence that global warming will have serious impacts worldwide, public opinion is moving in the opposite direction," said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change.

"Over the past year the United States has experienced rising unemployment, public frustration with Washington and a divisive health care debate, largely pushing climate change out of the news. Meanwhile, a set of emails stolen from climate scientists and used by critics to allege scientific misconduct may have contributed to an erosion of public trust in climate science."

The survey showed ignorance about prevailing scientific opinion. The number of Americans who believe that most scientists think global warming is happening decreased 13 points, to 34 percent, while 40 percent of the public now believes there is a lot of disagreement among scientists over whether global warming is happening or not.

"The scientific evidence is clear that climate change is real, human-caused and a serious threat to communities across America," said Edward Maibach, director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University. "The erosion in both public concern and public trust about global warming should be a clarion call for people and organizations trying to educate the public about this important issue."

The full report is here.