It seems that many Americans need to see and touch the impact of climate change before they acknowledge its presence. And that seems to be happening. A new Associated Press-GfK poll has found that a growing majority of Americans think global warming is occurring, that it will become a serious problem and that the U.S. government should do something about it.
The poll found 4 out of every 5 Americans said climate change will be a serious problem for the United States if nothing is done about it. That’s up from 73 percent when the same question was asked in 2009.
And 57 percent of Americans say the U.S. government should do a great deal or quite a bit about the problem. That’s up from 52 percent in 2009. Only 22 percent of those surveyed think little or nothing should be done, a figure that dropped from 25 percent.
Overall, 78 percent of those surveyed said they believe temperatures are rising, up from 75 percent three years earlier. In general, U.S. belief in global warming, according to AP-GfK and other polls, has fluctuated over the years but has stayed between about 70 and 85 percent.
Strangely the biggest change in the polling results is recorded among people who trust scientists only a little or not at all. And in the US a massive 1 in 3 of the people surveyed fell into that category! ( Can you believe that ?) Within that highly skeptical group, 61 percent now say temperatures have been rising over the past 100 years. That’s a substantial increase from 2009, when the AP-GfK poll found that only 47 percent of those with little or no trust in scientists believed the world was getting warmer.
Jon Krosnick, a Stanford University social psychologist who consulted with The Associated Press on the poll questions, said the changes the poll shows aren’t in the hard-core “anti-warming” deniers, but in the next group, who had serious doubts.
“They don’t believe what the scientists say, they believe what the thermometers say,” Krosnick said. “Events are helping these people see what scientists thought they had been seeing all along.”
Big question is the one about what next and here only 45 percent of those surveyed think President Barack Obama will take major action to fight climate change in his second term. 41 percent don’t think he will act.
So we are left with the rather horrible realisation that global warming is here and happening, but not even half the people thinking their own government is going to take action. Given the massive emissions of the US , it would be good if they remembered the slogan that got their President elected first time round "Yes, we can " and they got on and did it and ignored the huge and undue influence of the fossil industries.