Poll: Many See No Need to Worry About Warming

Will global warming pose a serious threat to ...
  Yes No
You in your lifetime?   33%   66%
Future generations?   79   17

It's notable that not only do most people disagree with the science academies on the need for prompt action, but that significant minorities -- four in 10 -- doubt that global warming is occurring and that human activities are a significant cause. Indeed, just 23 percent are "completely" convinced that global warming has begun.

Such doubts may reflect not just the administration's view, but also the language used by scientists to describe the situation. The academies, for instance, report "strong evidence" rather than scientific certainty of global warming and say it "likely" is due to human activities, and explicitly say the "lack of full scientific certainty about some aspects of climate change" shouldn't delay an immediate response.

Groups

Older adults are more skeptical on this subject -- they're much less likely to be convinced that global warming is happening, to think human actions are a significant part of the problem and to expect adverse effects in their own lifetimes. Such concerns peak among the youngest adults, 18-29; young adults, however, are no more likely to support immediate government action.

  18-29 30-64 65+
Convinced it's under way   67%   59%   48%
Human activity a significant cause   70   62   44
Threat in your lifetime   47   33   12
Urgent government action needed   39   38   35
Threat to future generations   91   78   70

Mirroring the political debate about government policy, there also are deep partisan and ideological divides on global warming. Republicans are less likely than Democrats and independents to think it's under way, to see human activities as a cause, to think they'll see the impact, or to favor urgent action to address it.

  Democrats Independents Republicans
Convinced it's under way   69%   64%   42%
Human activity a significant cause   68   64   54
Threat in your lifetime   41   40   19
Urgent government action needed   47   44   24
Threat to future generations   90   82   65

Methodology

This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone June 2-5, 2005, among a random national sample of 1,002 adults. The results have a three-point error margin. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS of Horsham, Pa.

Click here for PDF version with full questionnaire and results.

Click here for more ABC News polls in our Poll Vault.

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