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climate_change
(06/30/09) -

Americans Assess How to Fight Climate Change

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – The views of adults in the United States on climate change are shifting, according to a poll by TNS released by the Washington Post and ABC News. 59 per cent of respondents think the U.S. should take action to curb global warming even if other countries such as China and India do less, down nine points since July 2008.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – The views of adults in the United States on climate change are shifting, according to a poll by TNS released by the Washington Post and ABC News. 59 per cent of respondents think the U.S. should take action to curb global warming even if other countries such as China and India do less, down nine points since July 2008.

In addition, 18 per cent of respondents believe the U.S. should take no action at all—down five points in a year—and 20 per cent would consent to the U.S. acting if other countries agree.

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."

On Jun. 26, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 219-212 to approve the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), which seeks to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 per cent by 2050.

Yesterday, Obama urged the Senate to pass the bill, adding, "We can cede the race for the 21st century, or we can embrace the reality that our competitors already have: The nation that leads the world in creating a new clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the 21st century global economy. That’s our choice: between a slow decline and renewed prosperity; between the past and the future."

Polling Data

Do you think the United States should take action on global warming only if other major industrial countries such as China and India agree to do equally effective things, that the United States should take action even if these other countries do less, or that the United States should not take action on this at all?

 

Jun. 2009

Jul. 2008

Action if others agree

20%

18%

Action even if others do less

59%

68%

No action

18%

13%

Unsure

3%

2%

Source: TNS / Washington Post / ABC News
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,001 American adults, conducted from Jun. 18 to Jun. 21, 2009. Margin of error is 3.5 per cent.