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Global warming is America’s lowest priority, recent poll shows

Photo courtesy quimpg and licensed by Creative Commons.

Global warming ranks dead last in a list of national priorities, according to a recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center for the Public & the Press. The Americans polled rank the economy, unemployment, and terrorism as (respectively) the top three priorities that need to be addressed.

The number of Americans who say that strengthening the economy should be a top priority has risen from 68% in 2007 to 75% last January and 85% today. Global warming finds itself at the bottom of a list of twenty national concerns, which includes Social Security, education, immigration and crime.

Similar to global warming, protecting the environment also appears to be a low priority for many job-minded Americans. In fact, the enivronment took the biggest tumble between last year’s poll and this year’s. Only 41% of the poll’s participants rate the environment as a top priority — falling from 56% just a year ago. The Pew Research Center notes that the fall can be seen across both sides of the aisle:

“The large decline in the percentage of Americans citing the environment is seen across the political spectrum, but Republicans (20%) remain far less likely than Democrats (54%) or independents (41%) to say that protecting the environment should be a top priority for the president and Congress. The only policy that ranks lower than protecting the environment among Republicans is dealing with global warming (16%).”

The poll’s findings resonated with global warming skeptics today at the International Climate Change Conference in New York. Skeptics have long been vilified by James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Today, Hansen called for the chief execs of fossil fuel companies to “be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature,” charging them with disinforming the public about the threat of global warming.

At the conference, retired NASA climatologist John Theon regretted the fact that he hadn’t fired James Hansen before. Theon called Hansen “an embarrassment,” criticizing Hansen of turning global warming into a public policy issue before Congress in 1988. Theon also told conference attendees that he was silent about global warming after retiring from NASA, but was compelled to voice his opinion. “This whole thing is a fraud,” said Theon. “We need to educate the public about we’re going to get into unless we stop this nonsense.”

The Pew Research Center poll is encouraging to skeptics who continue to fight the dangerously misguided assumption that global warming is a man-made phenomenon. As the conference ends, skeptics are undoubtedly more resolved than ever about global warming — especially since the general public is beginning to demonstrate genuine doubt about it, as evidenced by the survey.

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3 Comments on “Global warming is America’s lowest priority, recent poll shows”

  • Tom wrote on 17 March, 2009, 7:44

    I can understand why global warming ranks low, people are just trying to live and get by day to day, its hard to make people see the long run, future consequences of something like global warming.

    I am a science teacher, and I am really interested on how education effects the attitudes towards global warming esp for children. I have done a search and ran across some interesting things, such as this website http://www.transantarcticexpedition.com/expedition/, its about a transatlantic expedition lead by an explorer named Andrew Reagan. Has anyone heard of it?

  • Thomas wrote on 25 March, 2009, 23:29

    That’s okay, I think this debate is ending. Al Gore just admitted he’s been wrong all this time about climate change.
    Read more here: http://www.thomaspeep.com/?p=406

  • lucky wrote on 28 March, 2009, 9:39

    ironic isnt it…. govt must do something about this criticle issue….

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