The New York Times: As President Obama sets out to convince the public that climate change requires immediate attention, he has his work cut out for him.
Perhaps more than people in any other rich nation, Americans are skeptical that climate change is a dire issue. In Pew Research Center surveys conducted last spring, 40 percent of Americans said that global climate change was a major threat to their country. More than 50 percent of Canadians, Australians, French and Germans gave that answer. More than 60 percent of Italians and Spaniards did. And more than 70 percent of Japanese did.
Similarly, a Gallup survey conducted in early March found that a third of Americans said they personally worry about global warming or climate change a great deal.
Americans rarely cite environmental concerns when asked in polls to name the most important problem facing the country. In the last several years, the economy, jobs, the budget deficit and health care garnered the most mentions, with the environment barely registering. In the Pew poll, fewer Americans cited climate change as a top threat than cited financial instability, Islamic extremism, Iran’s nuclear program or North Korea’s nuclear program. [Continue reading…]