Global environmental challenges
Pew poll shows more Republican doubt about global warming
Most scientists have linked climbing temperatures to so-called greenhouse gas emissions from carbon fuels such as oil and coal.
“The proportion of Americans who say that the earth is getting warmer has decreased modestly since January 2007, mostly because of a decline among Republicans,” Pew says.
It was refering to findings from its latest nationwide survey of 1,502 adults which was conducted April 23-27.
“Republicans are increasingly skeptical that there is solid evidence that the earth has been warming over the past few decades: just 49 percent of Republicans say there is evidence that the earth’s average temperature has been rising, down 13 points since January 2007,” it said.
It said that overall 71 percent of those surveyed thought there was solid evidence of a warming world compared to 77 percent in January of 2007.
It further found that about half of Americans or 47 percent believe global warming is the result of human activity but views on the subject reflect a sharp partisan divide. It said 27 percent of Republicans hold this view versus 58 percent of Democrats.
This partisan divide narrows among the non-skeptics in both parties.
“Despite the huge partisan differences over whether the earth is warming, majorities of those in both parties who say there is evidence of global warming believe that it is possible to reduce the effects of higher global temperatures,” Pew said.
“Overall, 74 percent of those who say there is solid evidence of global warming say it is possible to reduce its effects, up from 67 percent in June 2006. Among those who believe there is solid evidence that the earth is getting warmer, there is little difference in those who think that it is possible to reduce the effects among Republicans 69 percent, Democrats 74 percent, and independents 77 percent.”
Pew does not speculate about the causes of the overall shift in sentiment. On the Republican side this may not be good news for the party’s presumptive presidential candidate John McCain who advocates a more activist policy on the issue than that pursued by President George W. Bush.
Perhaps environmental awareness wanes when the economy hits a rough patch. Or perhaps the skeptics would argue that they have not seen any really convincing new evidence or studies over the past year on the subject.