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?