Gallup poll: Global Warming dead last again

I missed this last Friday, but better late than never. From Gallup Worry About U.S. Water, Air Pollution at Historical Lows. Looks like a double body-blow to admitted document thief Dr. Peter Gleick; Americans don’t share his top two concerns on water and climate, probably because of the actions of zealots like him.

Trend: I'm going to read you a list of environmental problems. As I read each one, please tell me if you personally worry about this problem a great deal, a fair amount, only a little, or not at all.

These results are based on Gallup’s annual Environment poll, conducted March 8-11. The trends are part of a broader decline in worry about environmental threats documented in the poll.

Gallup asked Americans to say how much they worry about each of seven environmental problems. All show significantly less worry today than in 2000, when worry was at or near its high point for each item. The declines in concern about drinking-water pollution and air pollution are the largest for the problems included in this year’s poll.

Percentage Worried "A Great Deal" About Environmental Problems, 2000 vs. 2012 Gallup Polls

More broadly, worry about the seven issues is below the historical average for each. Most of the trends date back to 1989.

Concern about these environmental problems is down among most major subgroups since 2000. Across the seven items, the percentage worried a great deal is down an average 16 percentage points among Republicans, 18 points among independents, and 13 points among Democrats.

Americans Worry Most About Water Contamination, Least About Global Warming

On a relative basis, Americans tend to worry more about environmental threats to the nation’s water supplies than those that affect other parts of the environment. The highest levels of worry this year are for contamination of soil and water by toxic waste, pollution of drinking water, and pollution of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs.

Concern about global warming is lowest of the seven environmental issues tested, even though it is up slightly this year from last year.

Americans' Worry About Environmental Problems, March 2012

The relative rank order of these environmental issues has generally been consistent over time, with water-related problems at the top and global warming at the bottom. In fact, the three water concerns in this year’s poll have ranked as the top three concerns over any other environmental problems nearly every time they have been asked since 1989. Pollution of drinking water has most often been the top concern.

More at Gallup Worry About U.S. Water, Air Pollution at Historical Lows:

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55 thoughts on “Gallup poll: Global Warming dead last again

  1. I believe people worry more about .gov and the economy currently and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

  2. Look what happens when you mix bullsh1t with real issues.

    Everyone wants clean drinking water. Everyone want fresh air. I suspect that everyone on this blog agrees with that. But when you lie to the public and tell them that clean air is air without CO2, then you end up tossing out the baby with the bath water.

    The EPA and its sympathizers are so off the rails that there is no solution other than to close the whole thing down and re-evaluate what requires regulation from scratch.

    Fortunately, the Greens overreached and are now incredible.

  3. The major polls I can find in the UK tell a similar story.

    British Social Attitudes, December 2011:

    “The report also finds that people are more sceptical about the credibility of scientific research on global warming:”
    • Under half the population (43 per cent) currently considers rising temperatures caused by climate change to be very dangerous for the environment, down from 50 per cent in 2000.
    • Over a third (37 per cent) think many claims about environmental threats are exaggerated, up from 24 per cent in 2000.
    ——

    “Britons Question Global Warming More Than Americans and Canadians 12 September 2011″:

    Temperature rise is a part of global warming or climate change. Do you think rising temperatures are… ?
    A result of human activities 37%
    A result of natural causes 39%
    Both 18%
    Don’t know/Refused 3%
    Not aware of global warming 3%

    Oh, bliss it must be to be part of that last 3%! As ever, public opinion is only glacially permeating the UK government, but it is getting there (more onshore windfarms canned; fracking testing given green light; absurd budget measures on energy conservation reversed…).

    I bet the Australian numbers are interesting!

  4. “They watched ABC, the other ABC, NBC and BBC incessantly screaming a none too subtle message at them for years and after a while, they reached for the TV remote with its mute button. No amount of repackaging of the message will get around that mute button once it’s been pressed and lads and lassies, it’s been pressed.”

    http://thepointman.wordpress.com/2011/08/04/i%e2%80%99m-not-a-scientist-but-%e2%80%a6/

    They’ve lost the mob. Der Krieg ist vorbei. C’est fini. Dead man walking …

    Pointman

  5. If I want global warming, I just buy a ticket on Jet Blue and fly down to Puerto Rico where it is a lot warmer than around here. Problem solved.

  6. Unemployment around the western nations is still higher than before 2008.
    When life is tough and incomes are low, or jobs are scarce, fretting about
    things you cannot influence becomes a less affordable luxury.

  7. Most polls are to sway public opinion, not measure it.
    A poll that wanted to measure what people truly thought about environmental issues would ask:

    #1. Would you pay twice as much for your water if it contained half the parts per trillion natural background of arsenic? of mercury?

    #2 Would you pay twice as much for your electricity to fund useless mitigation measures for a harmless trace gas?
    to fulfill renewable mandates for equipment made by well-connected political donors?

    #3 Would you put up with frequent electrical blackouts in order to get rid of coal-fired plants?

    #4 Would you pay twice as much for gasoline and stand in line for hours to buy a meager ration from the few stations left open, in order to get rid of our automobile addiction?

    #5. Would you pay twice as much property tax in order to fund a windmill farm next door?

    #6. Do you think that the annual slaughter of millions of birds and bats, and dozens of windmill workers, is OK for windmills, when oil companies are fined for a single bird?

    #7 Did you know that wind power requires 100% fossil fuel backup that costs twice as much as fossil-fuel baseline?

    #8. Did you know that the asynchronous nature of solar and wind power make grid crashes more likely?

    #9 Did you know that ethanol uses more energy than it makes?
    that it destroys small marine engines?
    that it causes people to starve and rain forests to be eradicated?

  8. Looks like a double body-blow to admitted document thief Dr. Peter Gleick; Americans don’t share his top two concerns on water and climate, probably because of the actions of zealots like him.

    That’s certainly part of it. But most is because it’s not something to worry about as much now. We’ve made great progress is cleaning up the environment and keeping it that way. Is everything perfect? Not by any stretch of the imagination. But I wish we’d stop downplaying the success we’ve achieved in fighting real pollution.

  9. There is, unfortunately, another way of looking at this survey. If concern about “Pollution of drinking water” and “Air Pollution” is down, it can be because the Obama EPA is now in charge and “we” no longer NEED to worry about it — it’s being handled.

    What I find astounding is that 72% of the population worried about “Pollution of Drinking Water” in 2000! Ok, maybey 1970 I’d buy, but 2000? 3 people in 4 “worried about drinking water?”

    And with all the fracking hoopla today that concern is DOWN from 2000 to 2012? Miind-boggling!

  10. al gore used the global warming theory to trick the unsuspecting american society into paranoia. the truth is hes still angry about the election loss so this is his undying revenge. ong after hes dead people will still be conversating this global warming theory.

  11. There are real environmental issues indeed, spilling out wast quantities of toxic stuff over residential areas being the first one. Like the red sludge flood in Hungary. The company running the failed facility was utterly irresponsible, for they did know the dam was cracking. It could even be seen on satellite images taken a week before the disaster.

    And of course, they did have neither liability insurance nor enough capital in their venture to make up for the damages, so the financial loss was split up between general taxpayers and those who suffered directly.

    And it is not a unique event, happens every now and then all over the globe.

    Therefore we urgently need a multilateral international treaty on compulsory industrial liability insurance. It can’t be restricted to a single jurisdiction or even a region, because in that case it would simply drive industry out. However, until non-toxic non-polluting agents (like carbon dioxide) get removed from the list of pollutants, there is no hope whatsoever to have one, because insurance companies are not fools. Cost of imaginary damages, unlike that of real ones, is incalculable.

  12. There was alwasy been a great risk that should the AGW scare fall it would take a whole load of otherwise good enviromental concerns down with it . Although bad news for everone , its understandable , the hicthing of so many enviromently wagons to the AGW funding honey pot and the poltical scare that has grown around it , has meant that its become hard for lots of people to see the difference bewteen this and other issues.
    It may even be why some very poor sceince, like the Hockey stick, gets so strongly defended by the eco’s. Like a pocker player that is all in they can only win or lose the lot so they MUST support ‘the cause’ for fear of losing all the support they got from the public , for this piublic will not forgive the lies and the BS, the insults and the waste of money that is ‘the causes ‘ legarcy .

  13. This is a sticky one. We cannot do science by popularity. Just as the claims of “ninety-something percent of scientists agree with ” doesn’t make it true, a poll of ‘ordinary’ people, many of whom who likely know next-to-nothing about an issue, doesn’t make that issue less important. It just makes it that much harder to do real, meaningful, and unbiased science to get to the best possible answer. If The Team would have just embraced the idea of skepticism, and actively sought the aid of skeptics in validating (or not) their hypotheses, we might have had meaningful answers years ago.

    I think we have the Jor-El effect going. The heroic figure who is the only one who can see the disaster that looms large, with all other mocking him. The difference here on Earth is the skeptics, or a decent number of them, are not mocking, they are doing the real “science job” of looking for errors and trying to duplicate results. The Jor-Els of Earth have responded poorly when their authority was questioned, and diminished their cause in the process.

  14. @Paul Westhaver

    Everyone wants clean drinking water. Everyone want fresh air. I suspect that everyone on this blog agrees with that.

    That depends upon your definition of “Clean”.

    Am I willing to pay for distilled water? No. If 1000 ppb Hg in fish is safe to eat, than a couple of bbp Hg in cheap drinking water might be a bargain worth making and a leve of zero is not necessary.
    Do I want air at minimum haze and 350 ppm of CO2 if the price I pay is no electricity? Again, No.

    There is a balance to all things practical. Purity is in the realm of religion.

  15. Politically… Getting behind the AGW alarmism cause has been good – because of the high level of commitment from the believers. But as this moves down, and the disbelief increases, then political campaigning will adjust.

  16. Quite possible concern about these issues is declining in the rich, developed world because we have successfully addressed and ameliorated so many of them. Life got better. We don’t need to stay worried about these things. Pity they are so quickly replaced by other worries.

  17. Air without CO2 is like distilled water without a trace of minerals. Try drinking the latter for an extended period and see where that gets you. Remove all the CO2 from the atmosphere and see where that gets us.

  18. This will really anger the EPA and the Obama administration. Expect them to punish business and drivers even more for the insolence of the American public.

  19. We are having a provincial election here in Alberta. The front runner was recently asked in an online forum what her thoughts are on Climate Change and she replied
    “We’ve always said the science isn’t settled and we need to continue to monitor the debate,” Smith wrote. source http://www.edmontonjournal.com/health/Wildrose+Smith+convinced+climate+change+real/6467880/story.html
    Meanwhile, CAGW alarmists insult her by saying “I wonder if she thinks the flat Earth debate is settled?” asked University of Alberta ecologist David Schindler. “It’s very discouraging in an era when sound policy requires scientific literacy in its leaders.”

    http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/scientist-muses-whether-alberta-wildrose-leader-believes-in-flat-earth-147775855.html

    A local radio station has put up an online poll to see what Albertans think. If you’re an Albertan reading this you might want to voice your opinion in an unscientific poll at http://www.qr77.com/index.aspx The survey is along the right side about half way down.

    If she wins and becomes our preimiere it will be very refrshing to have a leader who is rational on this issue. (okkay, maybe “another” leader…)

  20. One wonders how much of that decline is due to the problems with the economy that started in 2000 with the bursting of the dotcom bubble. One would think that currently people have more immediate things to think about, with the middle class shrinking and housing prices slumping. The 90’s were a period of time when everyone did better and the economy was trucking along at an unprecedented rate, leaving more time to think about less immediate concerns.

    I’m surprised this article hasn’t been discussed here:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/04/16/himalayan_karakoram_glaciers_gaining_ice/

  21. @howb at 3:33
    I just looked at that poll. ATM the count is 80% against the ‘settled science’! Som e27% think that the science is not settled and 53% don’t think that there is a problem at all. Only 11% think we need to jump off the edge of a flat earth..

  22. I’ve been working on a presidential campaign for the past 8 months or so. This involved a whole lot of calling around in my area of the state (Southwest Washington) trying to find supporters, as well as deep involvement in all local republican activities, something I would normally avoid like the plague.

    For most of the phone calling we posed as a political poll, asking people a few questions about their presidential preferences and which issues concerned them most, rather than identifying ourselves by our candidate right off. While we focused on republican and independent voters, we also called thousands of democrats. In all those months and thousands and thousands of phone calls, I had a grand total of three individuals select environmental issues as their top concern — and two of those were concerned because of property rights being lost under Agenda 21. The economy was the #1 concern by far and away, followed by taxes.

    The big surprise for me though was at the various republican meetings and especially the local candidate speeches given at our county caucus just last weekend. The fraud of global warming, Agenda 21, and UN encroachment were directly mentioned far more often than not. In many areas the republican party is even adopting official anti-Agenda 21 stances, though at our local platform discussion we ran out of time to bring it up.

    I am fully well aware of the republican role in implementing UN environmental policies in the past, and I’m still a little suspicious, but the tide definitely seems to be turning. After so many years of being labeled a ‘conspiracy theorist’ and so forth, it was quite shocking (in a good way!) to see so many mainline, professional politicians discussing these things as easily as they talk about taxes or gun rights.

    Mr. Hadian in particular, running for governor, is anti-agenda 21. Those of you in WA may want to look him up and consider supporting him.

  23. Berényi Péter says:
    April 17, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    …Therefore we urgently need a multilateral international treaty on compulsory industrial liability insurance.

    Sorry, but there’s something about the terms “multilateral international treaty” and “compulsory” that I REALLY don’t like being used in the same sentence.

  24. Earlier Tom Nelson noted a tweet from “Tom Tommorow” that would give a seemingly reasonable basis for the public to support action on climate change. It was: “If majority of scientists are wrong abt climate change, we spent some extra money, made some extra rules. If cons wrong, everything dies.” My comment:

    BUT… this is a dangerously specious tweet. Lesser points is that he assumes a ‘majority’ of scientists favor the rapidly being discredited AGW position, and the idea that a little warming would be catastrophic is accepted by few. At worst we’d see a marginal increase in sea level, and a change in the best latitudes for farming. -Nothing- dies.

    But the main thing is the tweeter’s contention that the cost of following the warmist plan is just “some extra money” and rules. No. It would be a lot of extra money and rules.

    Most importantly, the radical warmist agenda (83% mandated CO2 cuts by 2050 passed the U.S. House) would spell dangerous economic contraction and probable collapse of civilization. No joke. See my harrowing comment on this:

    http://www.real-science.com/time-team-huddle#comment-73061

  25. It would be nice to think that public opinion responded to the plain fact that REAL pollution no longer requires much action, but public opinion is never that wise. I’d look first to the decreased emphasis by the American media.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if the change could be traced precisely to the purchase of the NBC empire by Comcast.

  26. Gee 55% worry about global warming a great deal, or a fair amount, and another 22% worry about it, but only a little. If it was a sane world and people knew the facts, 100% would not worry about at all. We have a very long way to go before people understand the truth.

  27. Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
    In the USA, and most of the developed world, the reason we have so many problems and worries is because we have no real problems. None of us are actually worried about our next meal, nor our shoes, nor a roof over our head. Apparently the average American family near the poverty line with a high school senior will spend upwards of two thousand dollars for prom this year. Obviously poverty is not a real problem in this country, not to mention the ever increasing rate of obesity.

    These percentages are actually scary. Over one third of Americans are “worried a great deal” about the general availability of sufficiently clean air and water for general health? Really? In 1970 there was a significant problem. As Willis E. has pointed out, that was a reasonable use of the force of the state, but the problem was solved by the mid ’80s, and these regulators exist only to justify their own existence now. Now the most dangerous substance known to mankind is EPA, at least in the USA.

    Don’t take my word for it. The EPA is proud to let us know that they succeeded decades ago. They just refuse to go away.

    http://www.epa.gov/airtrends/

  28. Burch says:
    April 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm
    …If The Team would have just embraced the idea of skepticism, and actively sought the aid of skeptics in validating (or not) their hypotheses, we might have had meaningful answers years ago.

    It was never about finding meaningful answers — it was about global wealth redistribution.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/26/rio20-meets-agenda-21/

    http://www.nzz.ch/nachrichten/politik/schweiz/klimapolitik_verteilt_das_weltvermoegen_neu_1.8373227.html ( Interview translated to English at Planet Gore and carried on NRO at http://www.nationalreview.com/blogs/print/253552 )

  29. sarc on
    I for one worry about water quality when all the homeopathic meds in the medicine cabinets are disposed and become even more super powerful when diluted in the aquifers. That could (may. model suggest) lead to a new race of super academics that seek to take over the world from politicians in a death match to save the world by killing it before the other side does.

    I’m not sure sarc /off is needed or appropriate.

  30. I note that fully 23% of those questioned worried ‘not at all’ about global warming; nearly twice as many as were worried ‘not at all’ about rainforests and extinctions.

  31. Meanwhile, this article from the NY Times Justin Gillis appeared in my local Bay Area newspaper this morning:

    In Poll, Many Link Weather Extremes to Climate Change

    Scientists may hesitate to link some of the weather extremes of recent years to global warming – but the public, it seems, is already there.

    A poll due for release on Wednesday shows that a large majority of Americans believe that this year’s unusually warm winter, last year’s blistering summer and some other weather disasters were probably made worse by global warming. And by a 2-to-1 margin, the public says the weather has been getting worse, rather than better, in recent years.

    According to Justin: “The poll opens a new window on public opinion about climate change.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/18/science/earth/americans-link-global-warming-to-extreme-weather-poll-says.html

  32. Yea, just read the Gillis article. Talk about two sides of the same coin. Gillis counts any thing other than “not worried at all” as “worrying”. Also the question is just about global warming, nothing about man made global warming, which is the real issue.

  33. The US constitution recognized the need to formally separate church and state. Science has become the new religion, with the same dangers. Formal separation of science and state is required to protect “we the people”.

  34. Seems to me that we humans evolved in a wilderness full of real risks and we are programmed to look out for the “wolf at the door”.

    That’s OK, when you are living in a stone age wilderness, when more than likely you’d not see 40, but these days we live in such a risk free environment that many see 100, and most see 60.But are pysche evolved to detect all the dangers of an environment of wolves at the door, but now take away the wolves and we start imagining them – in other words, with no real danger, we start treating minimal risk with the same response that ought to be reserved for some marauding beast.

    Something similar seems to happen with auto-immune diseases. If the body is “too clean”, it starts treating non-infective agencies as “the enemy” and it vastly over-responds. And the treatment seems to be to recalibrate the body by giving it real infections … healthy bodies need dirt!

    Likewise, society starts to treat the obsessive problems like global warming sensibly, when we all have real problems like unemployment and debt collectors banging on the door.

  35. Amazing to see an anti climate change poll result, most are so programmed they wouldn’t think of releasing such results.

  36. “TomB says:

    April 17, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Looks like a double body-blow to admitted document thief Dr. Peter Gleick; Americans don’t share his top two concerns on water and climate, probably because of the actions of zealots like him.

    That’s certainly part of it. But most is because it’s not something to worry about as much now. We’ve made great progress is cleaning up the environment and keeping it that way. Is everything perfect? Not by any stretch of the imagination. But I wish we’d stop downplaying the success we’ve achieved in fighting real pollution.”
    But there’s the rub,TomB. You don’t get billions of taxpayer’s money to fight REAL pollution,not like the boggeyman of cAGW to find a totally harmless CO2.

  37. I went to the Gallup site and downloaded the PDF file that listed the survey methodology and questions asked. This is the question on global warming had the poll-takers read a list of environmental problems, and then the respondents said how worried they were about each item.

    My question: How would global warming rank if respondents weren’t given a list of items? Would it even be mentioned if the respondents were asked to list their top 3 environmental concerns?

  38. The American people are being quite rational and observant.

    After forty odd year so of intensive effort the end is in sight for our arduous effort to cleanse our environment. Thepopulace can see it too. Essentially every major river and lake has been cleansed. So our waters nationally are now clean.

    But we are not yet finished with cleansing our Air. There are still metro areas with endemic polluted Air. That ii now only metro LosAngeles and metro Houston. But even there, the effort has already more then half way achieved our goals. For example, Los Angeles used to see 300-330 days of intense smog. Now it has only 20-30 days of much less intense smog. That is how far we have come. Houston has a plethora of refineries that have not yet cleaned up their act, but progress is happening there also.

    Everywhere else the Air is basically clean. That does not mean that it is always pristine. If there is a fire in your neighborhood the Air quality will deteriorate for a short period, but metro wide it doesn’t happen. There are alsao occasional periods of a few hours that constittute a technical violation as well. But basically our Air is pretty good now ,across the USA ,and the people perceive that. When LA and Houston finish cleaning up, we can have our National Holiday and Celebration as the first country to have achieved both Clean Air and Clean Waters.

    We are not far away and should be planning for the National Holiday recognizing our Victory for the Environment or VE Day.

  39. O Olson re Suzuki: he was apoplectic in an interview this morning, he was spitting mad and barely able to talk. Loved it. He’ll be looking for more money from the Tides Foundation.

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