Concern Soars About Global Warming As World’s Top Environmental Threat

SUMMARY OF REPORT

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This ABC News/Washington Post/Stanford University poll was conducted via telephone from April 5-10, 2007, among a random sample of 1,002 adults. The results have a three-point error margin. This survey, produced in consultation with Prof. Jon Krosnick and the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University, builds on an ABC News/Time Magazine/Stanford poll on global warming in 2006, and 1997 and 1998 environmental polls by Krosnick.Results:

  • The amount of people who believed that Global Warming was the world’s biggest environmental problem increased from 16% to 33% from 2006 to 2007 when asked an open ended question. As of 2007, it places far ahead of any of the other problems listed. The next closest issue is air pollution, which 13% of people believe is the world’s biggest environmental problem. In 2006, Global Warming and Air Pollution were much closer in the percentage of people that believed that Global Warming was the world’s biggest environmental problem.

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  • According to the survey, the amount of people who think that scientists disagree about global warming has decreased, although a majority of Americans still believe that this is the case. Also, the amount of people who believe that Global Warming is mostly human caused has also increased by about ten percent, however this number is still only about 41 percent of people.

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  • The amount of people who think that it’s probably happening, personally see it as very important, and know at least a moderate amount about it has not increased significantly from 2006 to 2007. However, when compared to the the late 90′s, the amount of people believing these things have increased over time. In fact, the amount of people seeing Global Warming as personally important to them has doubled from 27% to 52% from 1998 to 2007. For the first time, a majority of people believe that Global Warming is personally important to them.
  • Nearly all Americans, 94 percent, say they’re willing to make changes in their lives to help the environment generally, while 80% say that they’re willing to make changes even if there’s a personal inconvenience. Lastly, 73 percent of Americans say that they’re already making efforts to reduce energy consumption in their homes. However, only about half of Americans are “very” willing if it means personal inconvenience; 45% are “very” willing if it means personal inconvenience, and 31 percent are doing a great deal to reduce their energy consumption.
  •  There seems to be widespread support for personal and home conservation measures according to the survey. Large majorities support methods such as recycling shopping bags, recycling trash, installing low-volume toilets. Smaller majorities support installing low-flow showerheads and having compact light bulbs.

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  • When separated based on political ideology, Democrats are the most likely to support conservation efforts while Republicans are the least likely to support these types of conservation efforts.

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Conclusion:

Overall, while the percentage of people who believe that Global Warming is occurring is about the same, less people believe that scientists disagree about it and more people believe that it is caused by scientists. Global Warming has come to the forefront as the most important Environmental problem to a plurality of Americans. Lastly, there is large support for conservation efforts such as recyclable shopping bags and trash recycling.