Poll: Americans less worried about climate change, sub-Saharan Africans more concerned

Republicans and some Democrats in Congress have increasingly raised questions about climate science and sought to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. The Gallup poll comes after a study by a Michigan State University sociologist showed that partisan divides over climate change have grown in the last 10 years.

The Gallup polling data show similar drops in Canada, Western Europe and the Middle East over the same time period.

The inverse was true in regions like Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. For example, in 2007 and 2008, 67 percent of those polled in Latin America said they viewed climate change as a threat. In 2010, 73 percent saw it as a threat.

A Gallup analysis of the data attributes the increasing concern about climate change in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa to extreme weather events.

“These relatively high figures among Latin Americans may be partly attributable to the bad rainy seasons and flooding that leaders in the region such as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez have linked to global warming,” the analysis says. “Countries that were hit particularly hard by floods, such as Ecuador and Venezuela, saw residents' likelihood to view global warming as a threat surge in 2010.”