The latest release from CNN/ORC International finds barely less than half of adults (49%) agreeing with the concept that global warming does in fact exist and is largely a manmade phenomenon. Around half that total (24%) think that it exists as part of natural environmental trends. Less than a quarter (23%) meanwhile believe it to be an unproven theory or patently false.
The poll comes at a time when many regions of the country are experiencing extremely cold temperatures but also shortly after reports from climatologists suggest that 2012 was the warmest year on record.
While President Obama urged action on an issue largely ignored during his 2012 reelection campaign the ideological battle persists. Obama asserts that a failure to respond to what nearly three-quarter of Americans deem to be a universal problem "would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms."
While many more believe that human beings have played a significant role in triggering climate change than do not the overall figure is down several points since 2007. In an October poll from that year 56% believed in manmade global warming and slightly less (21%) considered it both the product of natural climate cycles or science fiction. Not surprisingly many more Democrats (66%) currently believe in the human effects of climate change than independents (48%) or Republicans (28%).
Another recent poll from United Technologies shows Americans resisting the concept of human influenced climate change. Informed that 2012 was the hottest year on record and that the ten warmest years have all occurred over the past decade and a half, by a 50-39% margin more believe that random weather variations are the cause of global warming over the burning of fossil fuels.
Another AP/GFK poll from December sheds additional light on the issue of public perception. According to that poll only 31% of Americans say they trust what scientists say about global warming against 32% who trust them only a little bit or not at all. 36% say they trust a moderate amount of the expertise of scientists. By a 78-18% margin meanwhile the vast majority of those polled do believe that temperatures have been rising over the past century and 80% think it we be a 'somewhat' or 'very' serious problem for the United States if nothing is done to reduce the effects of global warming.
Lastly, and in terms of the economic impact, the will of many Americans seems to contradict the position of many of their elected officials who are deemed unlikely to pass any type of comprehensive climate change prevention bill in the near future. The AP poll finds that 46% think the United States economy will actually benefit in the future if action is taken to curb the effects of global warming. Only a quarter of those (25%) think it will hurt the American economy and 22% believe that it will make little difference one way or another.