Global Warming’s Chilling Effect

Why are Americans slow to take eco-action? An Economist/YouGov/Polimetrix poll points toward one big reason. Even as global warming shoves other environmental issues out of the limelight, the public refuses to adopt a sense of urgency about it.

While 38 percent of respondents rated global warming as a “very serious” problem, a majority termed it either “somewhat serious” (32 percent) or “not very serious” (27 percent). Even among the 18-29-year-olds, who’ve come of age with the problem, fewer than half (47 percent) called it very serious.

Meanwhile, if you think of global warming as a preoccupation chiefly of Volvo-driving white folks, the data hold some surprises. Thirty-six percent of white respondents rated it as a very serious problem, vs. 43 percent of black and 51 percent of Hispanic respondents.