Seeing Is Believing: American Belief in Climate Change Is Growing Due to Personal Observation

A new poll by the Associated Press-GfK shows that Americans’ belief of climate change is growing (to nearly 4 out of 5 Americans). The growth is increasing at the greatest pace amongst those who doubt climate science but believe in personal experiences. As 2012 has demonstrated, climate change impacts – rising temperatures and extreme weather – are now experienced by most Americans.

Poll: Most Americans say world is warming

Cross-post from USA Today

by Seth Borenstein, Associated Press Science Writer

Concern is growing faster among people who don’t often trust scientists on the environment.

A Greenlandic Inuit hunter and fisherman steers his boat past a melting iceberg near Nuuk, Greenland, in July 2011. Nearly 4 out of 5 Americans now think temperatures are rising and that global warming will be a serious problem for the United States, a new Associated Press-GfK poll finds.   Photo: Brennan Linsley AP

A Greenlandic Inuit hunter and fisherman steers his boat past a melting iceberg near Nuuk, Greenland, in July 2011. Nearly 4 out of 5 Americans now think temperatures are rising and that global warming will be a serious problem for the United States, a new Associated Press-GfK poll finds. Photo: Brennan Linsley AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly 4 out of 5 Americans now think temperatures are rising and that global warming will be a serious problem for the United States if nothing is done about it, a new Associated Press-GfK poll finds.

Belief and worry about climate change are inching up among Americans in general, but concern is growing faster among people who don’t often trust scientists on the environment. In follow-up interviews, some of those doubters said they believe their own eyes as they’ve watched thermometers rise, New York City subway tunnels flood, polar ice melt and Midwestern farm fields dry up.

Overall, 78 percent of those surveyed said they thought temperatures were rising and 80 percent called it a serious problem. That’s up slightly from 2009, when 75 percent thought global warming was occurring and just 73 percent thought it was a serious problem. In general, U.S. belief in global warming, according to AP-GfK and other polls, has fluctuated over the years but has stayed between about 70 and 85 percent.

The biggest change in the polling is among people who trust scientists only a little or not at all. About 1 in 3 of the people surveyed fell into that category.

Read the full article here.

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