Americans’ Belief in Global Warming Declining

By Joey Parigi

The number of people in the U.S. who believe in global warming is declining. The republican party has had the most drastic decrease in members who believe that climate change is actually happening, going from 76 to 54 percent in the last 3 and a half years.

How people could neglect to believe that global warming is in fact caused by the burning of fossil fuels is difficult to understand. It is clear that the emissions of gases and pollution have had some effect on the ozone layer. A CNN story reported that an astounding 97 per cent of climatologists, who are active in climate research, do in fact believe that humans play a role in global warming.

The problem of global warming came with industrialization. It is not a coincidence. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, since the industrial revolution, human activities have substantially added to the amount of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuels emits aerosols that absorb and emit heat as well as reflect light. Facts show that the 20th century’s last 2 decades have been the hottest in 400 years and quite possibly the warmest for several millennia. It’s hard to dispute factual evidence that concrete.

Mainstream news sources such as Fox News are only making it easier for people to push aside the issue of global warming. By reporting that some climate change scientists have thrown away most of their raw data on the issue, it is easy for skeptics to convince themselves that it’s not really happening.

According to Amanda Feinberg, a retired administrative assistant as well as member of the Republican Party, climate change is just the “evolution of nature.” Another republican, Lisa Woolcott, said that she doesn’t think we can even control what happens in the atmosphere.

The decline in believers on the democratic side is a lot smaller. In the last 3 and a half years, they have only gone from 92 to 86 per cent. As for the independents, they have gone from 86 to 71 per cent in that same time frame. Even with the fallout of believers, 55 per cent of poll respondents still say that the U.S. should curb its carbon output.

In a Washington Post-ABC News poll taken in March of 2009 concerning continuing environmental issues, global warming was among the topics of least concern to the respondents. Topics of greater interest included: pollution of drinking water; water pollution; toxic contamination of soil/water; supply of fresh water for households; air pollution; loss of rain forests; and extinction of plants and animals.

There are a few documented reasons for people not believing in global warming. Some people just think that this is just part of the earth’s natural cycle, since we have had warmer as well as colder times throughout history, and because we recently (in geologic time) came out of an ice age. They believe that most of the people that do believe in the global warming theory only believe it because they have been overwhelmed with a bunch of propaganda in the name of environmentalism.

Climate change is happening; there is plenty of evidence to support that. If not for media sources telling people that humans have nothing to do with climate change or global warming, then we would not be talking about a decline in believers. People need to open their eyes and see for themselves what is right in front of their face, rather than believing everything that these major news corporations tells them is true.

Joey Parigi- Sociology Student Researcher, Sonoma State University