WASHINGTON, The number of people who believe climate change is a serious problem facing the United States is declining, but they are still in the majority, a poll released Monday indicates.
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows 63 percent of those surveyed say climate change is a serious problem facing the country, down from 69 percent in June. Fifty-two percent say climate change is a “very serious” problem, down from 57 percent.
About 47 percent believe the government should do more to deal with global warming, down from 61 percent in 2008. About one-third believe the government is doing the “right amount” and one-fifth believe the government should do less, an increase from one-tenth of people who believed that eight years ago.
The poll found 51 percent of people say there is “a lot of disagreement among scientists” over the existence of global warming, down 11 percent from 2008. About 43 percent say scientists agree with one another.
“The widespread sense of scientific controversy contrasts with reviews of climate research and surveys finding that at least 84 percent of scientists agree that the Earth is warming because of human activity,” Washington Post public opinion polling analyst Scott Clement writes.
Democrats and Republicans continue to largely disagree on the issue. More than 80 percent of Democrats say global warming is a serious problem, contrasting the nearly 60 percent of Republicans who believe it is not a serious problem.
About 65 percent of Democrats want the U.S. government to take more action against climate change, and 57 percent say most scientists agree on whether global warming is occurring.
Fewer than 25 percent of Republicans believe the government should take more action against climate change while about 66 percent say there is “a lot of disagreement” among scientists.
Democrats and Democratic-leaning Independents are 43 percent more likely than Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents to say scientists agree on global warming.
About 60 percent of people younger than 30 say climate change is a “very serious problem,” while less than half of people older than 50 share that sentiment.
The poll was conducted from Nov. 16-19 with a random sample of 1,004 adults with a 3.5 percent margin of error.
President Barack Obama on Monday warned climate change could be the most dramatic threat to the world. During his speech at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, he also said immediate, global action is needed.
About 150 world leaders and 40,000 delegates from 195 countries are attending the the two-week conference, also called COP21. The main goal of the conference is to create a legally binding and universal agreement on reducing global carbon emissions, with the hopes of holding global average temperatures short of a 2-degree Celsius increase over pre-industrial global temperatures.