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global_warming
(01/29/09) -

Global Warming Serious, Say Americans

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Many people in the United States regard climate change as a real challenge, according to a poll by Rasmussen Reports. 64 per cent of respondents say global warming is very or somewhat serious.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Many people in the United States regard climate change as a real challenge, according to a poll by Rasmussen Reports. 64 per cent of respondents say global warming is very or somewhat serious.

While 41 per cent of respondents say global warming is caused mostly by human activity, 44 per cent believe it is part of long-term planetary trends.

The term global warming refers to an increase of the Earth’s average temperature. Some theories say that climate change might be the result of human-generated carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. In 2007, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report which states that global warming has been "very likely"—or 90 per cent certain—caused by humans burning fossil fuels.

In 1998, several countries agreed to the Kyoto Protocol, a proposed amendment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The agreement commits nations to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The U.S. has not ratified the treaty, which is due to expire in 2012.

In October 2007, former U.S. vice-president Al Gore and the IPCC were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."

In American elections, candidates require 270 votes in the Electoral College to win the White House. In November 2008, Democratic nominee Barack Obama secured a majority of electoral votes, defeating Republican candidate John McCain. On Jan. 20, Obama became the first African American president in U.S. history.

In his inauguration speech, Obama said his government would now "roll back the spectre of a warming planet" and "restore science to its rightful place."

Polling Data

How serious a problem is global warming?

 

Jan. 2009

Dec. 2008

Apr. 2008

Very serious

41%

41%

47%

Somewhat serious

23%

24%

26%

Not very serious

18%

17%

16%

Not at all serious

15%

16%

8%

Not sure

2%

3%

4%

Is global warming caused primarily by human activity or by long term planetary trends?

 

Jan. 2009

Dec. 2008

Apr. 2008

Human activity

41%

43%

47%

Long term planetary trends

44%

43%

34%

Some other reason

7%

6%

8%

Not sure

9%

8%

11%

Source: Rasmussen Reports
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,000 American adults, conducted on Jan. 15 and Jan. 16, 2009. Margin of error is 3 per cent.