It might surprise some since Congressional action to address directly global warming is dead but 83% of Americans now believe global warming is real, according to an AP/Ipsos poll released on friday. Last year the poll found 75% believed global warming was real.
Why the rising numbers of Americans saying global warming is real, especially when Rush Limbaugh, Tea Party Republicans and movement conservatives have made denial of global warming a litmus test for the Republican Presidential nomination? And when other polling shows that only 25% of Republican primary voters believe global warming is real and caused by human activity?
Some would say the AP/Ipsos Poll is just wrong. The poll had a big sample--over 1,000--and a small margin of error. Its basic findings are also supported by other polling so the poll is likely close to the mark of where public opinion stands.
The AP/Ipsos poll also found that, of the 83% that believe global warming is real, 71% believe that human activity is responsible for the warming, while 27% believe natural variation explains the documented warming of 2 degrees.
That means that 65% of Americans believe global warming is both real and caused by man, while 35% believe that the warming is natural or not happening at all.
The increase in the number of Americans believing global warming is real most likely is a result of their daily weather. A portion of the population's views on global warming seems impacted by what they experience. Temperatures in 2010 and now in 2011 are among the highest ever.
Texas for example has shattered all heat records and is in the grips of the worst drought in its history. Regional global warming models predicted declining precipitation in Texas and that has become reality with a vengeance.
This year there have been 10 weather disasters that have inflicted $1 billion or more in damages in the USA.
The heat, droughts, floods are all likely convincing more Americans that global warming is real. But will the GOP drop its denial of global warming? Governor Huntsman is the only Republican Presidential candidate that direclty says he accepts climate science.
Mitt Romney has done what? Waffle. Flip. Flop. Pretzel. Who knows what he thinks because he does not know. The usual profile in leadership courage from Governor Romney.
All the others have flat out denied climate science, something that George W. Bush and George Bush Senior did not do.
Why the movement against climate science in the GOP? That is where the votes are within the GOP. The 35% of the public that either deny the reality of global warming or say that the rising temperatures are natural variation are overwhelmingly Republicans. The candidates are playing to the crowd, with the exception of Governor Huntsman.