Gallup: Americans less likely to view climate change as threat

Summary:Although a slight majority of U.S. residents still believe global warming is a serious personal concern, fewer are willing to admit that humans are at least partially responsible.

Oh goody, a new Gallup poll for the politicians to play with over the weekend! The research organization is reporting that residents are really no more or less aware about climate change during 2010 than they were several years before, in 2007 and 2008.

In the United States, for example, the number of people say they know a great deal about global warming or climate change is off 1 percent to 96 percent. What is off significantly, however, is both the percentage of Americans who believe that global warming is a serious treat and the number of people who think that it comes from human causes or both human and natural causes.

You'll see that a majority of Americans do believe that global warming, outside of the cause, is a serious threat: 55 percent of the people surveyed in 2010 held that opinion, although that was off 9 percent from the previous polling period. We seem to be stalemated now as to whether humans have anything to do with global warming. Approximately 50 percent of the Gallup respondents held that view, off 11 percent from 2007-2008.

The Gallup data is drawn from different sets of data in the Top Five greenhouse gas-emitting countries. There were 1,005 interviews in the United States, 1,000 interviews in Japan, 4,151 interviews in China, 6,000 interviews in India and 4,000 interviews in Russia. The interviews took place late in 2010. The margin of error ranges from + o - 1.7 percentage points to + or - 3.9 percentage points.

None of these five countries are expected to adopt or embrace climate policies or come to any kind of deal about climate action before the Kyoto Protocol expires next year in 2012.

The citizens of Japan are more likely than U.S. citizens to be concerned about global warming: 77 percent view it as a serious personal threat and 88 percent believe it is at least partially due to human factors. These people were surveyed before the March tsunami.

The views of Russians were gathered at two different times in 2010: after the record heat wave there last summer, more of them were likely to see global warming as a serious threat (about the same number as Americans).

Far fewer Chinese survey respondents were aware of climate change or global warming, only about 65 percent. The ones who ARE aware of it see humans as being responsible: about 75 percent attribute global warming at least in part to human factors. BUT only 32 percent of the respondents see it as a personal threat.

The Indian survey respondents had the lowest awareness about climate change: Only 37 percent of the adults surveyed knew anything about it. Among those who were aware of the phenomenon, 83 percent believe it is a serious threat and 74 percent believe that global warming results from human causes/both human and natural causes.

Noted Gallup in its analysis:

"Residents in these countries may not necessarily agree about the severity of the risk or who is to blame, but previous Gallup surveys show they agree that developed and emerging nations should reduce emissions at the same time, rather than wait for one group to cut them first."

We'll see how this data plays out over the weekend, as the climate deniers will likely have a field day. Oh, wait, my electricity will be probably be out in New Jersey because of another extreme weather event (aka Hurricane Irene), so I will probably miss it.

Topics: Big Data

About

Heather Clancy is an award-winning business journalist specializing in transformative technology and innovation. Her articles have appeared in Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times. In a past corporate life, Heather was editor of Computer Reseller News. She started her journalism lif... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.