Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, gave a speech on the Senate floor yesterday citing recent Gallup Poll results showing a “record-high 41 percent of Americans now say [global warming] is exaggerated!” This is the “highest level of public skepticism about mainstream reporting” in more than a decade, according to the March 11, 2009, Gallup survey,” said Inhofe.

“You should never underestimate the intelligence of the American people,” said Inhofe. “Sadly, that is exactly what the promoters of man-made climate fears have been consistently doing, and the American people have consistently rejected climate alarm. Despite world-wide media frenzy, Americans remain as skeptical of global warming fears as they were in 1989.

“After one of the slickest and most expensive climate change fear campaigns in our nation’s history, there is no change in global warming concern by Americans in the past two decades,” said Inhofe. “This skepticism persists despite a Nobel Peace Prize jointly shared by former Vice President Al Gore and the United Nations climate panel.”

“These dramatic polling results are not unexpected as prominent scientists from around the world continue to speak out publicly for the first time to dissent from the Al Gore, UN IPCC and media driven man-made climate fears. In addition, a steady stream of peer-reviewed studies, analyses, real world data and inconvenient developments have further refuted the claims of man-made global warming fear activists,” said Inhofe.

According to a Gallup news release, “since 1997, Republicans have grown increasingly likely to believe media coverage of global warming is exaggerated, and that trend continues in the 2009 survey; however, this year marks a relatively sharp increase among independents as well. In just the past year, Republican doubters grew from 59 percent to 66 percent and independents from 33 percent to 44percent, while the rate among Democrats remained close to 20 percent.”

Gallup also noted “all of the past year's uptick in cynicism about the seriousness of global warming coverage occurred among Americans 30 and older. The views of 18- to 29-year-olds, the age group generally most concerned about global warming and most likely to say the problem is underestimated, didn't change.”

“Altogether, 68 percent of U.S. adults believe the effects of global warming will be manifest at some point in their lifetimes, indicating the public largely believes the problem is real,” said Gallup. “However, only 38 percent of Americans, similar to the 40 percent found in 2008, believe it will pose ‘a serious threat’ to themselves or their own way of life.”

The bottom line, according to Gallup: “Americans generally believe global warming is real. That sets the U.S. public apart from the global-warming skeptics who assembled this week in New York City to try to debunk the science behind climate change. At the same time, with only 34 percent of Americans saying they worry ‘a great deal’ about the problem, most Americans do not view the issue in the same dire terms as the many prominent leaders advancing global warming as an issue.

“Gallup has documented declines in public concern about the environment at times when other issues, such as a major economic downturn or a national crisis like 9/11, absorbed Americans' attention. To some extent that may be true today, given the troubling state of the U.S. economy. However, the solitary drop in concern this year about global warming, among the eight specific environmental issues Gallup tested, suggests that something unique may be happening with the issue.

“Certainly global warming has received tremendous attention this decade, including with Al Gore's Academy Award-winning documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth.’ It is not clear whether the troubled economy has drawn attention away from the global warming message or whether other factors are at work. It will be important to see whether the 2009 findings hold up in next year's update of the annual environmental survey.”

Survey results are based on telephone interviews with 1,012 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted March 5-8, 2009. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.