The poll also finds that 34 percent “say that global warming is occurring mostly because of human activity, such as the burning of fossil fuels,” which largely matches last year’s survey but is also well below 2006-2008 Pew polls. This is the dominant — but not unanimous — view among climate scientists.
“Much of the change in attitudes about global warming occurred between April 2008 and last fall, with the decline coming mostly, though not entirely, among Republicans and independents,” Pew notes in a summary of the results.
Forty-six percent call global warming a problem requiring “immediate government action” in the new survey, compared to 61 percent in July of 2006. “This decline is mostly a consequence of the fact that fewer now say global warming is a problem,” Pew finds.
The partisan divisions are stark.
“Views about climate change continue to be sharply divided along party lines. A substantial majority of Democrats (79%) say there is solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been increasing over the past few decades, and 53% think the earth is warming mostly because of human activity,” Pew notes.
“Among Republicans, only 38% agree the earth is warming and just 16% say warming is caused by humans. Roughly half of Republicans (53%) say there is no solid evidence of warming. These patterns are little changed from a year ago,” they add.