Throughout his administration, President Bush has shown little interest in taking serious action on the problem of global warming. At this week’s G8 summit, the president remained true to form. The American public, in contrast, is getting more and more convinced of the seriousness of the problem and wants our government to do more—much more—to address it.
Consider these data from an April 2007 ABC News/Washington Post/Stanford University poll. In that poll, respondents were asked an open-ended question on what they consider to be the world’s single biggest environmental problem—that is, they were given no response categories and could name any problem that came to mind. Just in the last year, the number of respondents who spontaneously mentioned global warming or climate change as the biggest environmental problem more than doubled, to 33 percent from 16 percent. Global warming is now far and away the problem most commonly mentioned.
In the same poll, 70 percent of the public said that the federal government should do more than it’s doing now to try to deal with global warming.
And according to a March Greenberg Quinlan Rosner/Center for American Progress poll, the public believes, by a 60 percent to 33 percent margin, that increased action should take place now rather than deferred to the future.
What should that increased action consist of? Well, one thing the public seems interested in is participation in the international Kyoto agreement to combat global warming. In a June 2005 Program on International Policy Attitudes poll, the public endorsed participation in the Kyoto agreement by a very wide margin of 73 percent to 16 percent.
Too bad for us (and the world) that we can’t seem to get President Bush to feel the same way.
For more information on the public opinion on this issue, see: