Unlike Media and Al Gore Americans View Global Warming as Low Priority

A new study just released by the University of Oregon indicates that despite all of the attention given to global warming by the media and pols like Al Gore, most people believe that solving the problem is a low priority (emphasis mine throughout):

Most Americans believe global warming is real but a moderate and distant risk. While they strongly support policies like investing in renewable energy, higher fuel economy standards and international treaties, they strongly oppose carbon taxes on energy sources that put carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

How deliciously refreshing. The study in question was done by Anthony Leiserowitz, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Oregon, and had some rather fascinating conclusions:

Although the data demonstrating climate change have grown stronger in recent years, Americans rank global warming as a low priority compared to other national issues such as the Iraq war, the economy, health care and education, and environmental issues such as air and water pollution, Leiserowitz said.

There was a somewhat comical side to Leiserowitz’s findings:

The survey, detailed in Chapter 2 of the book, also identified two particular groups, or "interpretive communities," of Americans at the extremes of global warming beliefs:

* Alarmists, who have apocalyptic visions, envision "death of the planet" or post-nuclear-war-like scenarios. "These visions are well beyond the most extreme scientific scenarios," Leiserowitz said. Alarmists, he found, are slightly more likely to be liberal and to hold strong egalitarian values.

* Naysayers, who deny, discount or disbelieve the reality of climate change. "These people claim that there is no scientific evidence, blame global warming on media hype, or even hold dark conspiracy theories, such as scientists making up data to protect their job security," he said. "Naysayers are much more likely to be white, male, conservative, Republican, very religious, hold strongly individualistic or hierarchist values and to get their news and information from radio talk shows."

And, of course, NewsBusters.

Global Warming
Noel Sheppard's picture