Almost Half of Americans Don't Believe in Climate Change

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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  1. No doubt we are emitting pollution and that can be decreased by a market that offers “green” options to consumers who genuinely want to keep things clean. Paying a global CO2 tax to the UN or the World Bank won’t help anything though. Not sure why people can’t figure that out.

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  3. To think that “climate change” is caused by human consumption and can be stopped by human effort is the epitomy of human arrogance.

    The term “climate change” had to replace “global warming” so when people point to record temperature lows, they can respond with, “Yes, that is the change we are talking about (at the moment).” If you remember Al Gores’ movie, global warming was all that his scare was about. But little details like that, like the whole premise being wrong, didn’t stop him and his ilk; they just changed the name, maybe because it was never about global warming in the first place, instead it’s always been about government control and the failed social experiment of socialism on a worldwide scale.

    I’m all for keeping things clean. And there is a place for governments to force industry to work harder to keep things cleaner and make things better for all the people. But science should be science, which is taking all the pertinent evidence and studying it to see where is leads us; not picking and choosing some facts here, some tidbits there, a part of this study and a part of that story, to a support a predetermined conclusion. That’s dirty politics, and should have no part in science, or journalism for that matter. Our journalists, which in times past have acted as watchdogs to expose wrong and protect people from political greed, have abandoned their roots of objectivity and have joined forces with those they used to try to keep in line, and have turned against the people. Maybe they got too rich to care about the truth anymore. (Except for a few,thankfully.)

  4. Hey Amanda: Don’t you think the falling poll numbers have at least a little something to do with the recent “Climategate” episode (in which the leading UN scientists have been caught lying big-time about their so-called “incontrovertible” data they fabricated to support their phony “sky is falling” climate-change theory / schemes over the past several years? Schemes that have led thousands of local and state governments, like those in California, to impose cumbersome “emergency” regulations upon their citizens, that waste thousands of taxpayer dollars when we can least afford it and threaten our very standard of living that we’ve all worked so hard to build over the decades for our ourselves and our posterity. This is a scandal of epic proportion, but where’s the media coverage? I guess Tiger Woods shenanigans are more important. I notice Earth 911’s Ms. Wills didn’t even mention this scandal once in her article. The American people are waking up to this “climate-change” fraud and that it is simply a political ploy to overturn and redistribute the prosperity of the world’s developed nations. Oh, I know: Let’s not let the facts get in the way of the schemers’ pre-conceived agenda… I am an avid conservationist and recycler who loves clean air, but fraud is fraud and enough is enough! The false pretenses are becoming very clear to all…. JMV is right on!

  5. Amanda,
    The title of your article points the reader in an entirely different direciton then what is really at the base of the poll. Its not that 1/2 the americans “dont believe in climate change”, its that 1/2 the americans dont believe that humans materially impact climate change. Two totally different concepts. You’re title makes it easy for anyone to lean to the “green” side because of course there’s climate change. You’d have to be an idiot not to believe in climate change. If you’re article title would have clearly stated what the point of the poll was, blatent persuasive journalism would have been avoided.

    Keep on writing… enjoy your articles.

  6. Agree with JMV, MJB and the majority of climatologists. Global warming is a hoax concocted to further socialism and destroy America. We’ve done more than enough to clean the air in the US. Other countries should be paying reparations to US for carrying the torch for democracy and freedom.

  7. I think the poll is tainted. I believe in climate change, I just don’t believe that man has anything to do with it. When you think on a larger geological scale, the earth has warmed and cooled for eons. This has created drastic climate changes throughout geological history. I find it amusing that they concentrate on cars when one volcano can put more sulfur and carbon dioxide into the air in one day than all the cars on the planet in a year. Let’s face it, we are one catastrophe form the earth changing completely and kicking humans off the planet. There will be nothing we can do to stop it and all the legislation in the world will not keep the Yellowstone volcano from errupting and causing the next ice age. But, we should keep the earth clean and respect what we have while we have it. But, I don’t think we should run around screaming the sky is falling when climate change is basically a geological process that has occured and will occur for many more centuries to come.

  8. It’s socialism/government control. First off, science is fake. You can’t trust so called “scientist”. They try and tell us the sun is the center of the universe… WOW. all you have to do is look up in the sky to see that the sun circles the earth (which i am still not convinced is round). So when some PhD tells me that scientist have been studying the properties of atmospheric gases for over over 100 years, and that through these studies that have determined that somehow burning massive amounts of fossil fuels and deforesting land can alter atmospheric composition, resulting in atmospheric changes, i say he’s a socialist. I am not sure how this is socialism, and I certainly won’t try to explain (i dont really know what socialism is cuz i didnt graduate highscool), but i will tell you that somehow science leads to socialism. And it is especially suspicious that they “revise” their studies, like they are still learning and doing research. Plus the Earth changes naturally, therefore how possibly could releasing billions and billions of tons of gases into the air change anything. Sounds like a government ploy to stop us from polluting, and that sounds like communism! somehow I feel more qualified than some scientist. I think i will take my word for it.This stuff is fake.

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  10. I’m sorry. I’ve read too many comments from people from hundreds of other articles on climate issues. People are stupid, ignorant, uneducated, lack foresight, cannot see cause and effect relations, lack the ability to use cognition, and certainly cannot manage their societies without government. For those and many more reasons, Christians will get their “rapture” and the rest of us will have to struggle surviving in a collapsing world where the population and natural resource limits have been overshot. Humans, as any other species, is a self-replicating destructive species. Like any other species, nature will eventually force the species back into equilibrium with the ecology of the planet – in this event, the remaining humans will struggle for existence, destroying every other species for food and cutting down every forest for resources. This is a simple law of nature – it is in our DNA (our instincts) and there are not enough logical people to stop what is coming. Just keep going to church and keep your head deep in the sand, let your kids figure it out right.

  11. Well, let’s see… Could it be that JUNK SCIENCE is the reason so many people are skeptical of “Global Warming” now called “Climate Change”? My husband, a science educator, says there has always been “climate change”. It just depends on the current cycle as to which change we have at any given time. 30 years ago Time Magazine had a cover touting “Global Cooling”, which of course was backed by science. When Earth went through the Ice Age, it wasn’t caused by man. When there were famines caused by “warming” in Europe which in part led to the French Revolution, it wasn’t due to man’s failures. While we all should do our parts to help take care of and improve the environment we have been given, we don’t want to be jerked around by junk scientists who cook the books to obtain desired results. [We would also like better examples than Al Gore – Peace Prize winner extraordinaire whose household uses @ 30x more energy than the average house. George Bush’s ranch was built with all the “green” improvements, but no one noticed this because he was conservative!] God did tell Adam & Eve to care for the Garden of Eden He provided them. Sin is what caused them to live “by the sweat of their brows”.

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