Since January, public belief that global warming is happening rose four points, to 61 percent, while belief that it is caused mostly by human activities rose three points, to 50 percent. The number of Americans who worry about global warming rose three points, to 53 percent. And the number of Americans who said that the issue is personally important to them rose five points, to 63 percent.
The stabilization and slight rebound in public opinion is occurring amid signs the economy is starting to recover, along with consumer confidence, and as memories of unusual snowstorms and scientific scandals recede. The BP oil disaster is also reminding the public of the dark side of dependence on fossil fuels, which may be increasing support for clean energy policies.
Americans who said President Obama and Congress should make developing sources of clean energy a high priority increased 11 points, to 71 percent, while those who said that global warming should be a high priority rose six points, to 44 percent. In a seven-point increase since January, 69 percent of Americans said that the United States should make a large or medium-scale effort to reduce global warming even if it incurs large or moderate economic costs.
Current public support for specific policy options (and changes since January, 2010) include:
The U.S. Senate is preparing to vote this week on a resolution that would block the EPA from regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant. Interestingly, however, 77 percent of Americans support regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant, including 64 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of Independents, and 91 percent of Democrats.
The two reports can be downloaded here: