Thursday, October 22, 2009

Delusion Level Increasing

Adapted from the Associated Press article:

Just 57 percent of Americans think there is solid evidence the world is getting warmer, down from 77 percent since 2006, a Pew poll says. And the share of people who believe pollution caused by humans is causing temperatures to rise has also taken a dip. The number of people who see the situation as a serious problem also has declined. The steepest drop has occurred during the past year.

Only about a third, or 36 percent of the respondents, feel that human activities — such as pollution from power plants, factories and automobiles — are behind a temperature increase. That's down from 47 percent in 2006.

Andrew Weaver, a professor of climate analysis at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, said politics could be drowning out scientific awareness.

"It's a combination of poor communication by scientists, a lousy summer in the Eastern United States, people mixing up weather and climate and a full-court press by public relations firms and lobby groups trying to instill a sense of uncertainty and confusion in the public," he said.

Political breakdowns in the survey underscore how tough it could be to enact a law limiting pollution emissions blamed for warming. Three-quarters of Democrats believe the evidence of a warming planet is solid, and nearly half believe the problem is serious. On the other hand, 57 percent of Republicans say there is no solid evidence of global warming, up from 31 percent in early 2007.

The vast majority of scientists agree that global warming is occurring and that the primary cause is a buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels, such as oil and coal.

Regional as well as political differences were detected in the polling.People living in the Midwest and mountainous areas of the West are far less likely to view global warming as a serious problem and to support limits on greenhouse gases than those in the Northeast and on the West Coast.