Monday, February 19, 2007

Americans Remain Uncertain Over Climate Change Problem

It seems that no matter how many prestigious scientific bodies proclaim that global warming is an extremely threatening problem many Americans remain uncertain about what to believe. The latest scientific organization to jump into the fray is the American Association for the Advancement of Science which in no uncertain terms declared yesterday at its annual meeting that “global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now and is a growing threat to society.”

Some scholars at the meeting gave talks trying to explain the lack of connection between the climate change research findings of scientists and the beliefs of the American public.

LifeScience reported that Jon Krosnick from Stanford University said that although Americans are in tune with these scientists on the basics they are uncertain about how bad the problem of global warming really is. Krosnick said that survey results show that whereas a mere 7% of the American public report extreme certainty about their views and 25% claim to be very sure, 41% report being only somewhat sure. It is this lack of absolute certainty says Krosnick which prevents many Americans from having a high level of concern about the problem even though they accept the scientific findings.

A report from Daily India described the conclusions drawn by Anthony Leiserowitz from the University of Oregon who analyzed the results of a national survey on global warming conducted in 2003. Leiserowitz said the survey responses showed that issues such as Iraq and healthcare are given a much higher priority than global warming.

A results of a more recent survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press suggest that many Americans actually do not accept the research findings of climate scientists. The survey found that only 47% of Americans think that there is enough solid evidence to say that humans are the main cause of global warming although about 75% do believe that global warming is taking place.

It is hard to imagine what could convince far more Americans that it is urgent to begin taking action to limit global warming. The science is out there. Al Gore has brought the message to the masses. Many prominent politicians are on board. Perhaps the only thing left is for conservative political leaders and news pundits to admit that immediate action should be taken to cap greenhouse gas emissions but that seems to be asking for the impossible.

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