July 3, 2012
Americans More Concerned About Air Pollution Than Global Warming
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Americans are more concerned with water and air pollution than with climate change, according to a new survey.
A Washington Post-Stanford University poll found that climate change no longer ranks as the leader in what Americans see as the world's biggest environmental problems.
The survey found that just 18 percent of those who were polled said global warming was their top environmental concern.
This number has declined from 33 percent back in 2007, which is when both a major U.N. climate report was publicized and Al Gore's documentary about global warming aired nationally.
Now, instead of global warming being the top priority, 29 percent Americans see water and air pollution as the world's most pressing environmental issue, according to the survey.
Although the shift of focus is clearly seen throughout the survey, Americans are still concerned about the threat of climate change, and three-quarters of those surveyed admitted that the Earth is warming.
The poll also said that about three-quarters of those surveyed believe the global temperatures will continue to rise if nothing is done.
Over 800 adults took part in the telephone survey between June 13 and 21, which took place right before record-setting heat waves unleashed on the country.
Juliet Eilperin and Peyton M. Craighill, reporting for the Washington Post, said that the findings indicate the government's "decision to shelve action on climate policy means that the issue has receded."
They wrote that some who feel passionately about the issue say they have noticed that President Barack Obama is no longer pushing a bill to limit greenhouse gas emissions, which is a proposal that has been stalled since 2010.
According to the poll, 78 percent of Americans believe global warming will be a serious problem if left alone, and 55 percent say the government should do something about it.
The Washington Post reported that the survey found that just under 40 percent of respondents say global warming is extremely or very important to them, which is the lowest percentage since 2006 and down from 52 percent in 2007.
The survey has a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.