Almost Half of Americans Don't Believe in Climate Change

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A Harris Interactive poll reports only 51 percent of Americans believe climate change is real, a significant drop from 71 percent in 2007. It is the lowest number Harris has recorded since asking this question 12 years ago.

This number poses a significant concern as the Copenhagen climate talks are underway this week. But will the skepticism make a difference?

Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, addresses the opening plenary session of the UN Summit on Climate Change. The new Harris INteractive poll shows opinions on global warming remain politically polarized. Photo: Marco Castro, United Nations

President Obama addresses the opening plenary session of the UN Summit on Climate Change. The new Harris Interactive poll shows opinions on global warming remain politically polarized. Photo: Marco Castro, United Nations

According to Harris Interactive, “The sharp drop in those who believe that greenhouse emissions will cause global warming will make it harder for leaders to introduce new policies to promote alternative energy sources and reduce our carbon footprint.”

When elected into office, Obama touted environmental issues as a top priority of his administration. While the Senate passed the Climate Bill in November, disparity between the parties has resulted in a virtual energy policy standoff.

Looking at the recent polls, 63 percent of Democrats believe global warming should be treated as a serious problem while 17 percent of Republicans and 38 percent of Independents hold the same opinion.

Harris points out that these numbers fall along party lines, which could make a bipartisan energy policy less feasible for the future.

But while Copenhagen is the main talking point in the green sphere, 52 percent of those surveyed said they do not know what the United Nations Climate Change Conference is actually about. Only 28 percent believe global warming and climate change is the main topic.

The Harris Poll surveyed 2,303 adults online Nov. 2-11.

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