I'm not sure if it's a bit of brilliant coincidence or planned public relations, but just as the Copenhagen Climate Congress wraps up, the Gallup Poll releases its latest survey of public perception of global climate change in the United States. From the brief look I've had at, the most striking thing is how far out of step the US public is with the messages that were presented by scientists over the past few days:Check out all of the graphs at Gallup (including ones on how global warming perception varies by political affiliation and age group), but this one really stands out to me.
Though 57% of the US public thinks that the seriousness of global warming is either correctly portrayed by the media, a record 41% now say that the media are exaggerating the matter. While I didn't conduct my own survey of all Climate Congress participants, the general feeling in every meeting I attended was that, if anything, the mainstream media (and in particular the US media) is under-stating the seriousness of global warming.
The message from Copenhagen is clear: The current rate at which climate change is developing is equal to the worst-case trajectory presented in the 2007 IPCC report, or happening even more quickly than that. Rather than global warming being exaggerated by the media, in fact, it has been presented as being not as serious as it should be.
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