American’s Belief in Climate Change Decreasing

In a study performed by The Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy at the University of Michigan, it was found that American’s belief in climate change has been declining in the last several years. The study surveyed Americans and Canadians and asked questions regarding their belief in climate change, the seriousness of the issue, and what actions should be taken in response to the issue. The results are disheartening to many who have been working to publicize the threat. Americans are less likely than Canadians to believe in climate change and to be willing to pay for renewable energy and more likely to believe that scientists are overstating the evidence.

In the fall of 2010, only 58% of Americans surveyed believed there is solid evidence of global warning, compared to 80% of Canadians. This number is down from the fall of 2008 when 72% of Americans believed there was evidence for climate change. The biggest determining factor of climate change belief in the United States was political party affiliation: 69% of Democrats were found to agree with the statement that there is evidence of global warning compared to 49% of Republicans.

Americans are also less willing than Canadians to pay extra to create more renewable energy. When asked how much extra they would be willing to pay, 41% of Americans said they would not be willing to pay anything. Only 21% of Canadians gave the same response and 26% of Canadians said they would pay $100 or more, compared to 13% of Americans.

The results of the study raise questions for many organizations that have been working to educate the public global warming. What has caused the numbers to drop and what has caused the difference in beliefs between two countries with similar climate change standards? What steps should be taken in the future to combat a falling level of climate change belief?

0 replies
  1. klem
    klem says:

    “what has caused the difference in beliefs between two countries with similar climate change standards?”

    The difference is Canadians in general are more left leaning than Americans, and they tend to believe whatever the national media outlet (the CBC) tells them. The CBC is filled with left leaning news reporters and editors, and they are always trying to provide a link between climate change and just about anything, no matter how unrelated. The USA does not have a CBC, reporting is more balanced in the USA.

    Also I have my doubts about the fall of 2010, 80% of Canaidnas believe there was solid evidence of global warming, there is something too high about that number. I live in Canada and this is not my experience, the numer might have been 80% in 2008 but not in 2010, I don’t buy that figure. I get the feeling there is some bias in the survey or your reporting of the results. There is no way it was 80% in late 2010, no way.

    • Colin Hoogerwerf
      Colin Hoogerwerf says:

      In attempt for clarification:

      The comment about “similar climate change standards” refers to the countries having similar federal regulations and similar amounts of emissions. The following quote from the conclusion of the study (a link to the study can be found in the article) may clear this up.
      “In many respects, these neighboring federations have considerable similarities in terms of climate change, with comparable rates of per capita greenhouse gas emissions, considerable emissions growth in recent decades, and substantial difficulty in reaching policy consensus at the federal level.”

      As for doubts about the numbers found in the study, I will again refer you to the study for information on sample sizes, survey questions, and experimental method, all of which are described in detail. A direct image from the study will be added to the article and will confirm that the numbers given in this report were not made up by the reporter.

      It is true that biases are involved in this report, as they are in all reporting. A report written by a writer on an environmentally themed blog will be written from the viewpoint of that writer’s worldview, which of course will be different from that of someone writing the same report for, say, the New York Times, Fox News, or the CBC. On the other hand, this report stated direct facts from a study and included the link to the study for confirmation. No views were pushed or forced, it was meant only to stimulate thought.


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