Fear of global warming on the rise

Americans' fear of global warming is on the rise, though they still aren't as concerned as they were before the 2008 financial collapse.

A new Gallup poll shows 58 percent of Americans are concerned a great deal or a fair amount about global warming. That's up from 51 percent in 2011 but down from 66 percent in 2008 and the record high of 72 percent in 2000.


The data contrast a little with a Pew poll released last week, which showed the number of people viewing climate change as a "very serious" issue had slipped 6 points since October. At the same time, the overall percentage of people who viewed it as a "very serious" or "somewhat serious" problem stayed steady.

There continues to be evidence of progress for climate change skeptics, though. The Gallup poll in recent years has shown a significant uptick in the perception that the effects of climate change are being exaggerated by the news media.

The 41 percent who say the media are exaggerating its effects is down from a high of 48 percent in 2010, but the poll still shows more people think global warming is over-hyped than believe it is undersold (33 percent) or accurately portrayed (24 percent).


Overall -- and perhaps most importantly -- there continues to be a lack of urgency on the issue, with 64 percent saying global warming is unlikely to pose a serious threat during their lifetimes.

 

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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Aaron Blake · April 8, 2013