Source: ScienceDaily (Jan. 27, 2010) — Public concern about global warming has dropped sharply since the fall of 2008, according to the results of a national survey released January 27 by researchers at Yale and George Mason universities.
- Only 50 percent of Americans now say they are "somewhat" or "very worried" about global warming, a 13-point decrease.
- The percentage of Americans who think global warming is happening has declined 14 points, to 57 percent.
- The percentage of Americans who think global warming is caused mostly by human activities dropped 10 points, to 47 percent.
"Despite growing scientific evidence that global warming will have serious impacts worldwide, public opinion is moving in the opposite direction," said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change. "Over the past year the United States has experienced rising unemployment, public frustration with Washington and a divisive health care debate, largely pushing climate change out of the news. Meanwhile, a set of emails stolen from climate scientists and used by critics to allege scientific misconduct may have contributed to an erosion of public trust in climate science."
The survey also found lower public trust in a variety of institutions and leaders, including scientists. For example, Americans' trust in the mainstream news media as a reliable source of information about global warming declined by 11 percentage points, television weather reporters by 10 points and scientists by 8 points. They also distrust leaders on both sides of the political fence. Sixty-five percent distrust Republicans Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sarah Palin as sources of information, while 53 percent distrust former Democratic Vice President Al Gore and 49 percent distrust President Barack Obama.