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Poll by Yale Climate Group Reveals Americans Consider Global Warming a Threat

An increasing number of Americans believe global warming represents a serious threat that demands drastic intervention, according to a national poll conducted by Yale University, the Gallup Organization and the ClearVision Institute. In addition, 40 percent say that a presidential candidate’s position on the issue will strongly influence how they vote in the 2008 elections.

“One of the most surprising findings was the growing sense of urgency,” says Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz, the director of the Yale Project on Climate Change. “Nearly half of Americans now believe that global warming is either already having dangerous impacts on people around the world or will in the next 10 years — a 20 percent increase since 2004. These results indicate a sea change in public opinion,” he adds.

Among the poll’s highlights:

• Sixty-two percent of those surveyed believe that life on earth will continue without major disruptions only if society takes immediate action to decrease global warming.

• Eighty-five percent of those polled support mandating carmakers increase the fuel efficiency of cars, trucks and SUVs to 35 miles per gallon, even if it meant a new car would cost up to $500 more.

• Eighty-two percent support requiring electric utilities to produce at least 20 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources, even if it cost the average household an additional $100 annually.

• Sixty-eight percent of Americans support a new international treaty requiring the United States to reduce its emissions of carbon dioxide 90 percent by the year 2050.

• Majorities of Americans continue to oppose carbon taxes as a way to address global warming, either in the form of gasoline (67 percent oppose) or electricity taxes (71 percent oppose).

The survey was conducted July 23-26, 2007, based on telephone interviews with 1,011 adults, ages 18 and older. The Yale Project on Climate Change at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies supports public discourse and engagement with climate-change solutions. Survey results are available online:

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