December 14, 2012

Poll: Even science doubters now say world is warming

Within that highly skeptical group, 61 percent now say temperatures have been rising over the past 100 years.

Seth Borenstein / The Associated Press

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This iceberg calved recently in the Ilulissat fjord west of Greenland. Polar ice sheets are now melting three times faster than in the 1990s.

AP

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The poll: http://www.ap-gfkpoll.com

Broken down by political party, 83 percent of Democrats and 70 percent of Republicans say the world is getting warmer. And 77 percent of independents say temperatures are rising. Among scientists who write about the issue in peer-reviewed literature, the belief in global warming is about 97 percent, according to a 2010 scientific study.

The AP-GfK poll was conducted Nov. 29-Dec. 3 by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications. It involved landline and cellphone interviews with 1,002 adults nationwide. Results for the full sample have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points; the margin of error is larger for subgroups.

The latest AP-GfK poll jibes with other surveys and more in-depth research on global warming, said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of Yale University's Project on Climate Change Communication. He took no part in the poll.

When climate change belief was at its lowest, concerns about the economy were heightened and the country had gone through some incredible snowstorms and that may have chipped away at some belief in global warming, Leiserowitz said. Now the economy is better and the weather is warmer and worse in ways that seem easier to connect to climate change, he said.

"One extreme event after another after another," Leiserowitz said. "People have noticed. ... They're connecting the dots between climate change and this long bout of extreme weather themselves."

Thomas Coffey, 77, of Houston, said you can't help but notice it.

"We use to have mild temperatures in the fall going into winter months. Now, we have summer temperatures going into winter," Coffey said. "The whole Earth is getting warmer and when it gets warmer, the ice cap is going to melt and the ocean is going to rise."

He also said that's what he thinks is causing recent extreme weather.

"That's why you see New York and New Jersey," he said, referring to Superstorm Sandy and its devastation in late October. "When you have a flood like that, flooding tunnels like that. And look at how long the tunnel has been there."

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