Many Americans Still Refuse To Accept Global Warming As A Real Concern
A joint report from Yale University and George Mason University, has shown that there is still significant resistance to the issue of global warming. The report (PDF) was recently highlighted on the website of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.
Slightly more than half (51%, to be exact) of American adults fall into the categories of alarmed and concerned about global warming. A further 19% are cautious about the issue.
The alarmed segment is, not surprisingly, the most active in trying to reverse global warming. They act as opinion leaders, trying to spread the word about the issue and attempting to get others to change their behaviors. The concerned and cautious segments see global warming as a problem, but fewer members of these segments choose to act in accordance with their beliefs.
Beyond the cautious segment, the numbers begin to get a bit frightening. The next 12% of Americans are disengaged, meaning that they don't currently have an opinion about global warming abut may form one in the future. Next, there's the doubtful segment (11%), made up of those who aren't necessarily inclined to believe that global warming is a real problem (and some who admit that it's happening but believe that it's the result of natural causes and not human behavior). Finally, there is the dismissive segment (7%), which believes that global warming is a hoax. Like the alarmed segment, this group seeks to raise awareness of their position.
It's important to note that there will probably always be a segment of people who refuse to accept facts, even in light of overwhelming evidence. Their divergent beliefs are often paired with wild conspiracy theories (such as those who deny that we ever visited the moon). However, the number of people who are still unwilling to embrace the idea that humans are damaging the earth by causing it to warm up is much larger than is normally the case.
Despite the large number of Americans who still doubt that global warming is a serious issue, though, the good news is that there is now a majority of Americans who fall into the segments alarmed, concerned of cautious. The report speculates that, assuming these people continue to speak out against global warming, we could be nearing a tipping point with regards to public action