Americans, perhaps more than individuals in other rich countries, are doubtful that climate change is an urgent threat.
According to Pew Research Center surveys conducted last spring, 40 percent of Americans said global climate change was a dire risk to their country, while more than 50 percent of Australians, Canadians, Germans and French answered the same. More than 60 percent of Spaniards and 70 percent did too.
Producing similar findings, a Gallup survey conducted in March revealed that a third of Americans said they are very concerned about global warming or climate change.
A gorgeous shot of baldcypress trees at sunrise in North Carolina. You can help the USGS study the effects of climate change on baldcypress swamps. Rising levels of carbon dioxide have been linked to increases in temperatures in North America, and scientists need to understand better how well natural wetlands can pull gases from the atmosphere. (Credit: Flickr/U.S. Geological Survey)
It is rare for Americans to highlight environmental concerns when asked in polls to list the most important issue facing the country. Instead, in the last several years, they have often pointed to jobs, the economy, health care and the budget deficit. In the Pew poll, for instance, fewer Americans named climate change a leading threat than those naming Islamic extremism, financial instability or Iran's and North Korea's nuclear programs.
The Middle East was the only other region that did not consider climate change to be an urgent issue. Also, many people in middle-income or poor countries were more than or equally as concerned about it as those in rich countries (Megan Thee-Brenan, New York Times, May 6).
Reprinted from ClimateWire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. 202-628-6500.
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