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4/21: Threat of Global Warming to Grow, Say Americans


4/21: Threat of Global Warming to Grow, Say Americans

More than seven in ten Americans agree that global warming will be a problem during their lifetime. However, there is less of a consensus on how great a threat it poses, and the results change dramatically when Americans weigh in on the challenges it presents for future generations.



Although 31% of residents nationwide say that global warming will be a major problem for their generation, an even greater proportion — 41% — believes it will be a minor one. 28% do not think it will be a problem for them at all. There’s definitely a Democratic and Republican way to view the earth. Nearly half of Democrats — 48% — say they expect to face major issues associated with global warming in their lifetime compared with just 12% of Republicans. Only 15% of Democrats think global warming will not be an issue for them at all in contrast to 44% of Republicans who feel this way.

Younger residents are more pessimistic about their environmental fate than are their older counterparts. 37% of people under 45 feel global warming will be a major problem for them while 47% say it will be a minor one. This compares with 26% and 37%, respectively, of those 45 or older.

However, there is an across the board spike in concern for future generations. About two-thirds of U.S. residents — 66% — say global warming will be a major problem for future generations. Once again, Democrats are more likely to have this view than are Republicans. Still, a plurality of Republicans — 45% — report the youth of America will face harsh realities of global warming. The proportion of Democrats who share this opinion is nearly double that of Republicans.

Table: Global Warming a Problem in Your Lifetime?

Table: Global Warming a Problem for Future Generations?

Issue in the Spotlight?

A majority of residents nationwide believe they know at least a good amount about global warming. 18% say they know a great deal on the topic while 40% believe they have a good grasp of the issue. More than four in ten Americans — 43% — believe that not enough attention is being given to global warming compared with 26% who feel global warming is receiving too much time in the spotlight. 31% feel the issue is being addressed appropriately. Age matters. 47% of people under 45 years old want more attention to be paid to global warming compared with 40% of those 45 and above who share this view. Region also plays a role. Residents in the Northeast and South are more likely to believe action must be taken to combat global warming compared with those living in the West and Midwest.

Table: Knowledge About Global Warming?

Table: Attention Given to Global Warming?

Personally Protecting the Environment?

So, how much are individuals doing to help the environment? 37% of Americans say they are doing a good or great deal to be eco-friendly; 39% report doing a fair amount while just 4% say they do nothing at all. College graduates tend to do more than do those without a degree, and women outnumber men when going green.

Although 76% of Americans say they fit along the spectrum of doing a fair amount to a great deal to help the environment, 60% of Americans would not label themselves as an environmentalist. Just 21% of the population would call themselves a strong environmentalist.

Table: Amount to Help the Environment?

Table: Consider Yourself Environmentalist?

Economic Protection Trumps Environmental Protection

Given these tough economic times,it is not surprising that nearly half of U.S. residents believe that economic growth should be given priority over the environment even if the environment suffers to some extent. 39% disagree. Most Republicans believe the economy should be priority number one. Democrats and Independents divide. Nearly half of Democrats — 49% — believe the environment should take precedence. A narrow plurality of Independents choose the economy.

Table: Protection of the Environment or Economic Growth

Marist Poll Methodology

Related Links:

Debate Over Climate Risks — Natural or Not

National Climatic Data Center

National Climatic Data Center on Global Warming

Gallup Poll March 2009: For First Time, Americans Put Economy Before Environment

Science Daily

Earth Sky

Science News Headlines

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  1. serelax

    June 24, 2010 at 5:05 AM

    Hi, Thanks Your Information is very nice. I agree with you.
    Because the contain for the global warming and help the environment.

    Thanks for the once again.

  2. Alicia Meyer

    February 15, 2010 at 2:14 AM

    Global Warming and Climate Change is the biggest environmental issue that we face these days. the long term effects of these environmental changes to a nations economy is quite damaging. there would be a shortage in food supply as well as on water supply too.

  3. Independent sixth form

    December 9, 2009 at 7:02 AM

    I’m currently teaching climate change to my geography class (we’re in the UK). What is especially eye-opening about your article, is the political slant – half of Democrats vs 12% of Republicans think that Global Warming will be a problem! It would be extremely interestng to know the sample size and locations of thos polled to see whether the data is statistically significant.

    This artcile takes on greater relevance with the Copenhagen climate summit taking place this week.

    Just today, a document was leaked which said that the burden of greenhouse gas reduction would be passed to 3rd world countries!

    You don’t need thermometers to measure climate change – Glaciers most certainly are retreating all around the world, and warm-species migration is evidence of warming.

    Whether this is all entirely man-made is a different question. But it makes sense for humans to think more than 4 years into the future (the political cycle) for once and take tough decisions that will impact the world for 1000s of years.

    It’s fascinating to see that more people think climate change will be a problem for “future generations”! Typical human response to think it will be a problem, just not tomorrow!

  4. Tacnet

    November 4, 2009 at 11:59 PM

    – We should be more concerned about Global Warming and Climate Change because Typhoons are getting much stronger and there are greater incidence of Flooding. take for example the recent Typhoon Ketsana which devastated some countries in South East Asia.

  5. Bodydetoxguy

    October 2, 2009 at 6:46 AM

    the effect of Global Warming these days is even worst. i think every government should pass stricter laws on Carbon Emissions. we should also concentrate more on renewable energy sources and avoid fossil fuels.

  6. Pingback: New polling data entirely consistent with the growing disbelief in man-made global warming; 69% say global warming is a minor problem or no problem at all | GORE LIED

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