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83% of Britons Say Global Warming is Imminent Threat

January 31, 2011

Guradian UK poll released today: Events of past 18 months have little effect on Britons’ opinion – 83% view climate change as a current or imminent threat.

Asked if climate change was a current or imminent threat, 83% of Britons agreed, with just 14% saying global warming poses no threat. Compared with August 2009, when the same question was asked, opinion remained steady despite a series of events in the intervening 18 months that might have made people less certain about the perils of climate change. Emails between climate researchers that were released online in November 2009 had led to unfounded suggestions that the scientific basis for global warming was flawed. World leaders also failed to agree to a global deal to combat warming and a mistake over the melting of Himalayan glaciers was handled badly by the UN’s science panel.

Supporters of action on climate change, from government to business to campaigners, will be relieved that this series of negative news failed to increase scepticism significantly. Polling by other organisations in early 2010 suggested a rise in the proportion of those unconvinced of the danger of climate change. But over the 18-month period between the ICM polls, the proportion of people saying climate change is not a current threat rose by just 3% and was balanced by a 3% rise in those saying it is a threat, representing a small polarisation of the opposing viewpoints.

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