People in the Mountain West have the lowest opinion of there being solid evidence of global warming. Colorado Springs photo: Jay Miller via flickr.
A new Pew Research poll shows that fewer US residents think there's solid evidence for global warming than in previous years, with just 57% seeing climate change evidence. That's down 20% since 2006 and down 14% since last year. Furthermore, only 36% of respondents thought that global warming was caused by human activity:Though Two-Thirds Think Climate Change a Serious Problem
Despite that though, 65% of people surveyed though that global warming was either a very or somewhat serious problem; and 50% were in favor of setting limits on carbon emissions, including making companies pay for emissions, even if this led to higher energy prices.
Poor Communication by Scientists + Full Court Press by Denial Lobbyists to Blame
Over at Huffington Post, Andrew Weaver, professor of climate analysis at the University of Victoria, pretty much nails why this is happening -- despite the fact that scientific evidence continues to mount that global warming is indeed happening and caused in the largest part by human activity:
It's a combination of poor communication by scientists, a lousy summer in the Eastern United States, people mixing up weather and climate, and a full-court press by public relations firms and lobby groups trying to instill a sense of uncertainty and confusion in the public.
I'd add that we in the green media are also partially to blame in not adequately countering the messaging of these lobby groups, and in not countering the Fox effect -- absurdist, jingoist, lowest-common denominator fear mongering masquerading as journalism.
Only 23% Correctly Know What Cap-and-Trade Refers To
But in any case... Also interesting in the Pew poll is the fact that cap-and-trade is a foreign word to most people in the United States.
A majority of people surveyed, 55%, said they had not even heard the term before with nearly a third saying they had only heard a little about it.
Only 23% correctly associated cap-and-trade with energy and the environment; 29% thought it deals with health care, banking reform and unemployment.
Lowest Acceptance of Evidence in Rocky Mountains & Midwest
Pew Research goes into a breakdown of how attitudes toward global warming and knowledge of cap-and-trade differ among political affiliation and geography. I'll leave the political part aside -- having already taken one swipe in that direction -- but consider this: The Mountain West and the Midwest show the lowest levels of global warming evidence acceptance (44% and 48% respectively), even though both these areas are among the projected worst to be affected. Some people are in for quite a surprise.
Read the full Pew results: Fewer Americans See Solid Evidence of Global Warming: Overview
Global Climate Change
We Believe Global Warming is Happening, Just Not Necessarily To Us
Which of Global Warming's Americas Do You Live In? The Alarmed, the Concerned, the Dismissive?
Why the US Lags Behind the Entire World in Understanding Climate Change