Society

Concern About Global Warming Reaches Record High

| by Jordan Smith

The percentage of Americans worried about global warming has reached a record high.

A poll conducted by Gallup between March 1 and March 5 found that 45 percent of respondents worry "a great deal" about global warming, up from 37 percent two years ago.

The poll was conducted after a month of record temperatures in February.

An additional 21 percent said they worry "a fair amount" about global warming. 18 percent said they worry "a little," with 16 percent saying they worry "not at all."

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According to 62 percent of respondents, another record high, the effects of global warming have already begun. The previous high was recorded in 2008, when 61 percent said they thought this was the case.

Only 9 percent of respondents said they thought the effects of global warming would never happen.

A majority believe that global warming has been caused by human activity, with 68 percent saying they think this is the main reason for the increase in Earth's temperatures. 29 percent put it down to natural environmental changes.

Americans were less concerned that global warming would have a direct impact on themselves. Only 42 percent stated they felt that global warming would pose a serious threat to themselves or their way of life.

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Gallup has recorded several shifts in opinion on global warming over recent years. It explained the increase in concern around 2007 and 2008 by noting the release of Al Gore's 2006 film "An Inconvenient Truth," as well as the impact of severe weather events like hurricane Katrina.

Concern fell considerably in 2011, a phenomenon Gallup suggested may have been linked to a focus on the impact of the economic crisis.

The latest poll also found widespread concern about what the Trump administration would do to the environment. 57 percent of respondents stated that they believe Trump will do a poor job at protecting the environment.

On March 9, Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, alleged that carbon dioxide is not a primary contributor to global warming.

Trump has referred to climate change as an "expensive hoax" and also said, "I'm not a great believer in man-made climate change," according to the San Diego Union Tribune.

Concerns about the Trump administration's approach are also evident among scientists. Scholars at UC San Diego say they fear climate change data could be suppressed or destroyed.

The university began planning 18 months ago on how it can archive research data on climate change because it fears information stored on government websites could be lost.

"It is a reaction to the concerns of the scholarly community and the scientific research community about the effect that the new presidency has vis-à-vis climate change, vis-à-vis any other of a number of things," Brian Schottlaender, the university’s head librarian, told the Union Tribune.

Sources: Gallup, San Diego Union Tribune/ photo credit: Kjetil Bjørnsrud/Wikimedia Commons

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