Belief in climate change on the rise in US

It’s only taken drought and Hurricane Sandy to wake up a few people, but progress is progress. Whether this means people are coming to the realization that Fox News has been telling lies, or that Big Oil is actively engaged in distorting the truth, is hard to say.

It’s going to take some big changes to correct the mistakes of recent decades.  But America is big on real reform, even when it starts to focus on a “problem.”

Climate change via Shutterstock

Climate change via Shutterstock

Look at the budget talks.  Even though it was radical tax cuts and two wars (once based on a lie) that are the primary causes of the deficit, we’re talking about cutting other “innocent” programs in order to pay for the mistakes of the bad ones.

Even when the public mood swings the right direction, it’s hard to see people insisting on actual reform that does any good.  Just look at guns.  How many children have to die, how many more mass shootings do we need, before any real reform is done in that area?

There are just too many other problems to address, that aren’t being addressed, though this may eventually supersede them all.  At least on the bright side, people are increasingly worried.  And that’s something.

More on the AP-GfK poll:

The poll found 4 out of every 5 Americans said climate change will be a serious problem for the United States if nothing is done about it. That’s up from 73 percent when the same question was asked in 2009.

And 57 percent of Americans say the U.S. government should do a great deal or quite a bit about the problem. That’s up from 52 percent in 2009. Only 22 percent of those surveyed think little or nothing should be done, a figure that dropped from 25 percent.

Overall, 78 percent of those surveyed said they believe temperatures are rising, up from 75 percent three years earlier. In general, U.S. belief in global warming, according to AP-GfK and other polls, has fluctuated over the years but has stayed between about 70 and 85 percent.

While this trend is no doubt positive, it’s also crazy to think that it’s taken so long to come around. Most of the industrialized world has been of this thinking for years and has grown frustrated with the lack of attention or seriousness by the US.

Much like our crazy gun laws and gun violence, the rest of the world just scratches its head and wonders what the heck is wrong with the US on some issues. It would be nice if Americans dropped their infatuation with Fox News and the Bible and moved back to the truth. We used to be thought leaders, and it’s time we get back there again.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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  • Tor

    The extinction of homo sapiens may be what saves the earth.

  • Naja pallida

    You know what they say, ignorance is bliss.

  • AnitaMann

    I agree. Your semantic distinction is correct. It is more accurate to say, “a majority of Americans now chooses to not dispute with the preponderance of evidence from scientists saying that global warming is real and man-made and no longer holds their fingers in their ears and shouts LALALALA.” Doesn’t roll trippingly off the tongue though.

  • FLL

    Time for Rush Limbaugh to blow a gasket.

  • TheOriginalLiz

    As soon as the tipping point is hit, the GOP will start crucifying Obama for not fixing it already.

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  • Kenneth C. Fingeret

    Hello Chris in Paris,

    A few days ago in a supermarket located in College Point (Flushing, Queens, Long Island) NY I was waiting to check out and started up a conversation with another customer. I mentioned that we are most likely to be “fracked” by the governor in NY State. Her view unsurprisingly was there was no problems with fracking. I tried to point out the documentary by Josh Fox Gasland. She didn’t seem concerned even when I pointed out the damage done to the water supply. She even wanted to drill everywhere for oil ignoring the climate problems because the Earth had been hot in the past and this was a natural phenomena. I knew enough to quit as there was nothing that I could say that would convince her including the recent wind and water problem known as Sandy! I did also mention the melting of the glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica with the rise in the water level of 40 feet and what it would do to NYC and Long Island. She was as unconcerned about that too.

  • samiinh

    What about the melting glaciers and the arctic sea ice gone? Isn’t that evidence that the globe is heating? The evidence is certainly there, and the evidence that the burning of fossil fuels for that last 200+ years is a contributor is real.

  • R James

    I don’t see how Sandy can be used as a “wake up” to anthropogenic climate change. Historical data shows that Sandy was perfectly normal in its timing and severity. Also, there is no recent increase in severity or frequency of severe weather events. Where I come from, we’ve had lakes dry up, with warnings that they’d never be full again. They’ve since been overflowing. Areas that were supposed to be in permanent drought were flooded.

    We need to look at the big picture – is anything unusual happening? It seems not.

  • Asterix

    I don’t “believe in” AGW anymore than I “believe in” gravity. I do think that there is ample evidence to support the existence of both. To “believe in” something is to take it as truth, with or without evidence, as in “she believes in the spirit world”. While the American public “believing in” climate change may be fortunate in the long run, I’d rather that they examine the evidence and draw their own conclusions.

  • Drew2u

    Any odds that next year or the year after we’ll see the second Dust Bowl? The Great Lakes have a noticeable drop in their water levels, as does the Mississippi river. Thinking about the surface volume of those bodies of water, it’s an immense amount of water that simply isn’t there anymore.

  • hollywoodstein

    No snow = no snow melt = no rivers. That might get their attention. 120 degrees for weeks during the growing season in Iowa = no corn. That might get their attention.
    It’s hackneyed to say, and maybe a bit dated, but we need an Apollo style crash program to fix this. But then again I’d like an Apollo project to get us back to the moon. And coast to coast supertrains.

  • Dave of the Jungle

    Food shortages will pop a few more balloons of denial. Late in the game, unfortunately.

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