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Americans worry less about climate change

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Climate change is no longer a pressing issue for most Americans. According to a recent Gallup survey, only 31 percent of Americans say they worry “a great deal” about the quality of our environment.

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American worries

In 2007, 43 percent of Americans indicated they worried a great deal about the environment; however, U.S. citizens have put this concern near the bottom of a list of 15 issues rated in a Gallup survey performed last week.

At the top of the list is the economy, followed by federal spending and the budget deficit, the affordability and availability of healthcare, and unemployment. American concerns about the environment and climate change are predominately low; however, this year American worries about these issues are even lower than in the past.

At the bottom of the list of American worries is race relations. This recent survey shows that either Americans are worried “not at all” or “only a little” about race relations and climate change.

New study on the severity of climate change

Most Americans may declare climate change is no longer a pressing matter. Nonetheless, new research proclaims global warming and climate change may be more severe than initially expected. This week, the journal Nature Climate Change published a new study claiming there is a 20 percent probability that we will be exposed to more global warming over the next decades.

Drew Shindell of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and author of this recent study points out that more warming is likely to take place in the next decades, compared to previous reports. He said,

"All the evidence aligns to point towards the higher end. This is an important finding, since it implies that sharp and immediate emissions cuts are needed in order to avoid such warming, whereas a lower estimate of climate sensitivity would imply that more gradual cuts might be sufficient to keep warming below dangerous levels set by global policymakers. It’s nice to have some certainty. Even though I would’ve preferred the climate sensitivity to be low, it’s better that we have a sense that we really understand what is going on much more clearly.”

On one hand, the overwhelming majority of Americans show little or no concern about climate change and global warming. On the other hand, a number of political figures, policymakers, environmental activists, private citizens, and scientists see a different, more detailed, scientific picture of Earth's environmental health.

As it stands, the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into our atmosphere have substantially increased to extraordinary levels due to humans burning fossil fuels for energy. It appears that many people will wait and see what happens in the coming years regarding the environmental health of our planet; whereas others continue with their focus on gathering data, monitoring our environment, and reporting to us their findings and suggestions.

Read more of George Zapo’s articles about public, global, and environmental health at his website: Healthy Habits.

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