With temperatures soaring across the United States, the number of people who say they believe the climate is changing is edging upwards. A poll taken mid-July by the University of Texas showed that 70 percent of respondents said they think the climate is changing. That’s up from 65 percent in March. Climate change deniers fell to 15 percent – from 22 percent in March. [readon]
In Canada, however, only 2 percent of the population are climate change deniers. A survey conducted in June revealed that “Canadians from coast to coast overwhelmingly believe climate change is real and is occurring, at least in part due to human activity,” according to Carmen Dybwad of IPAC-CO2 Research Inc.
Almost one-third said they believe climate change is happening because of human activity, while 54 per cent said they believe it’s a combination of human activity and natural climate variation. Only 9 per cent believe climate change is occurring due to natural climate variation. And two per cent of Canadians said they don’t believe the climate is changing at all. (Details of the Canadian poll are here.)
In the United States, belief in climate change seems to vary with the weather. Bloomberg Businessweek notes:
Following a winter of record snowfall in 2010, the public’s acceptance of climate change fell to a low of 52 percent, according to the National Survey of American Public Opinion on Climate Change, which was published by the Brookings Institution in Washington. After this year’s mild winter, support jumped to 65 percent, the same as that found by the [Univ. of Texas] Energy Poll in March.
The biggest jump in public opinion took place in southern states, especially Texas, where drought is ravaging the land and 70 percent of people polled say climate change is happening. (That’s up 13 percent.)
Democrats outnumber Republicans. 87 percent of them say climate change is taking place, compared to 53 percent of Republicans. And 72 percent of independent voters agree – up from 60 percent in March.
Two papers published by the Brookings Institute delve further into public opinion regarding climate change. Barry Rabe, one of the authors of the two studies, commented that political party affiliation is the best predictor of someone’s belief in climate change.
Which just goes to show that we tend to be guided more by our personal belief systems than by objective facts.