Nearly 20% of Americans Think Global Warming Is Exaggerated

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Almost 20% of Americans think news about global warming is exaggerated. They also don’t have much concern about climate change. Research on opinions on the environment shows that a huge number of U.S. residents, 19%, think that the massive body of science that shows melting polar caps and global temperature records don’t mean much, according to a new Gallup survey.

Gallup breaks the population into three groups in terms of opinions on climate change. The people who essentially believe that climate change is not real are called the “Cool Skeptics” in Gallup’s research. The study also shows another 31% of Americans surveyed have mixed opinions of the global warming trend. Gallup calls these the “Mixed Middle” and says:

Overall, the slight majority blame human activity for the problem, and just above half worry about it a great deal. At the same time, half also think the seriousness of global warming is exaggerated, and only 29% believe global warming will pose a threat in their lifetime.

The largest group, although barely half of Americans, believes climate change is both real and a major threat:

[T]he share of the U.S. population that Gallup categorizes as “Concerned Believers” on climate change has consequently reached a new high of 50%. This is up slightly from 47% in 2016 but is well above the 37% recorded only two years ago.

Among the three categories, opinions about the climate vary by political beliefs:

In line with the strong partisan differences Gallup finds in Americans’ responses to individual questions about global warming, the global warming groups are highly differentiated politically. Nearly half of Concerned Believers, 47%, identify as Democrats, whereas 61% of Cool Skeptics are Republicans and the Mixed Middle is more independent than anything.

Overwhelming scientific evidence seems to have its limits, which may be the reason efforts to create a green environment have stalled.

Basis of the Gallup research:

The questions tap the following views on global warming:

  • Concern: How much Americans worry about global warming or climate change — a great deal, a fair amount, only a little or not at all.
  • Seriousness: Whether the seriousness of global warming is generally exaggerated, underestimated or assessed correctly in the news.
  • Cause: Whether global warming is mainly the result of pollution from human activities or mainly from natural causes.
  • Threat: Whether Americans believe global warming will pose a serious threat to themselves or their way of life in their own lifetime.