Gallup: Climate Concern hits New High
March 14, 2017
Two Thirds of Americans now worry “a great deal”, or “a fair amount” about climate change – just in time for Vladimir Putin’s wrecking crew to begin dismantling (so they think) of our tools for dealing with it.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Record percentages of Americans are concerned about global warming, believe it is occurring, consider it a serious threat and say it is caused by human activity. All of these perceptions are up significantly from 2015.
Forty-five percent of Americans now say they worry “a great deal” about global warming, up from 37% a year ago and well above the recent low point of 25% in 2011. The previous high was 41%, recorded in 2007. Another 21% currently say they worry “a fair amount” about global warming, while 18% worry “only a little” and 16% worry “not at all.”
Pollster Ed Maibach of George Mason University had a similar analysis in December.
Unusual weather, particularly record-breaking warm temperatures in the U.S. in recent years, may explain increases in public concern.
Gallup’s 2017 Environment survey was conducted March 1-5 on the heels of the country’s second-warmest February on record. The pattern was similar in March 2016 when Gallup recorded a five-percentage-point spike in the percentage of Americans who worried a great deal about global warming following that year’s unseasonably warm February.
In addition to warmer weather, anxiety about President Donald Trump’s environmental stance could be a factor in Americans’ heightened concern about global warming this year. The new poll found 57% of Americans saying Trump — who has called global warming a “hoax” — will do a poor job of protecting the environment. That far exceeds the percentages of Americans predicting the same for Barack Obama or George W. Bush at the start of each one’s first term.
Record High Believe That Effects of Global Warming Are Evident
Sixty-two percent of Americans now believe the effects of global warming have already begun to happen. That eclipses the previous high of 61% recorded in 2008 and is up from 49% in 2011.