Public Opinion on Global Warming

With the recent attention raised by Al Gore’s Oscar-Award winning documentary and testimony, the findings of the IPCC, and widespread media attention, global warming is clearly one of the hottest (ha) issues of 2007.  The big story that isn’t getting attention on this issue is the fact that public opinion has taken a major turn on the debate.  While skeptics and non-believers still remain on the fringes of American politics, their numbers are dwindling, and their tactics are increasingly desperate.

Below I’ve listed a sampling of recent polls that indicate the extent to which the facts of climate change are no longer a subject of political debate.  Americans, as well as people all over the world, are fully aware of the need for comprehensive legislation to address global warming.



Almost four in five Canadians — 77 per cent — are convinced global warming is real.

“This is the biggest study that has been done on Canadians and their opinions and attitudes towards global warming,” Angus Reid poll researcher Ellie Sykes told CBC News Thursday.


Fully 83 percent of Americans now say global warming is a “serious” problem, up from 70 percent in 2004.

Most dramatically, the survey of 1,000 adults nationwide shows that 63 percent of Americans agree that the United States “is in as much danger from environmental hazards, such as air pollution and global warming, as it is from terrorists.”

The survey indicates that while 70 percent of Americans believe that President Bush doesn’t do enough for the environment and should do more, many citizens are ready to act on their own.


Ninety-two percent of Australians favoured measures to combat global warming.

China, whose environmental policies are often criticised, and Israel were the next most inclined to favour such measures, with 83% of their populations in favour of immediate actions to reverse trends in global warming.


One recent poll showed 81 percent of Alaskans “are convinced that global warming is happening.”


70 percent of American evangelical Christians see global warming as a “serious threat” to the future of the planet.


A new Gallup poll finds that a majority of Americans are worried about the effects of global warming, including more powerful hurricanes (69 percent), more common flooding/droughts (67 percent), and rising ocean levels (63 percent).


In New Hampshire, Ninety-six percent of Democrats and 82 percent of Republicans said the United States should take action now to reduce emissions.


Nine out of 10 Americans think it’s very important for the government to take action to achieve a national goal of 40 mpg.

It is important to remember what Napoleon once said about public opinion:

Public opinion is a mysterious and invisible power, to which everything must yield. There is nothing more fickle, more vague, or more powerful; yet capricious as it is, it is nevertheless much more often true, reasonable, and just, than we imagine. – Napoleon Bonaparte

Now is the time, 2007 is the year.  Public opinion within the U.S., as well as worldwide, is clearly in favor of immediate legislation to curb the effects of global warming.  The only two questions that remain are:

1)  When will Congress catch up to the will of the people?
2)  What form will the legislation take?