Here’s a fairly disturbing trend. A Gallup poll released yesterday shows a significant jump in the number of Americans who doubt the seriousness of the global warming threat and who think that the press is over-hyping the issue.
Despite the increased political and rhetorical emphasis on climate change under the new administration, the survey found only 60 percent of respondents are worried a “great deal” or “fair amount” about global warming, down from 66 percent last year. Forty-one percent said that the media coverage of global warming is exaggerated — a record high in more than ten years of polling:
This increase in skepticism took place across the political spectrum — and most sharply among independents — although a much higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats believe coverage to be exaggerated:
Notably, respondents under the age of 30 showed no change here, while all age ranges over 30 showed a significant increase in skepticism of global warming coverage.
Now, as Gallup points out, it may be argued that concerns about the environment tend to decline in times of extreme economic hardship. Except that the number of people who are worried about other environmental issues stayed relatively constant, while fears of global warning decreased:
Another explanation, of course, is that the media really do exaggerate reports of climate change, and as a result people have grown increasingly skeptical. But given the airtime and print space devoted to global warming deniers and cap-and-trade critics, I have trouble buying this argument.
UPDATE 3:25 PM: Turns out there’s an explanation I hadn’t considered: People are becoming more skeptical because man-made climate change is a myth, and the truth is finally getting out. That’s what Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) will tell the Senate in five minutes. From an email just sent out by his press man:
Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, will deliver a lengthy speech about the public’s growing skepticism about man-made global warming fears. “These dramatic polling results are not unexpected as prominent scientists from around the world continue to speak out publicly for the first time to dissent from the Al Gore, UN IPCC and media driven man-made climate fears. In addition, a steady stream of peer-reviewed studies, analyses, real world data and inconvenient developments have further refuted the claims of man-made global warming fear activists,” Inhofe will state.