Beijing over global warming?

As of late Beijing has received just as much media coverage for its rampant pollution as it has for the Olympic games, so it's strange that global warming has gotten relatively little attention. A new poll from ABC News, Planet Green and Stanford University suggests that while the majority of Americans still say they consider climate change a serious issue, public concern over the issue has ebbed since last year.

According to the poll, 47% of Americans consider global warming an important issue to them personally, reflecting a drop from 52% in April 2007. While the vast majority (eight in ten) still think the planet is warming, the figure is also down from last year. Additionally, in an open-ended question, the number of respondents who called global warming the biggest environmental challenge facing the world fell eight points from 2007 and currently hovers at 25%.

One can’t help but notice that the drop in these numbers coincides with decreased media attention to climate change, in favor of the election and economy. "A database search finds 50% fewer news stories on global warming in the month before this poll was conducted, compared with the month before last year's survey," Gary Langer from ABC News wrote.

The dwindled media spotlight may also explain the respondents' lack of knowledge about how the presidential candidates measure up on global warming. About 80% of respondents said they knew little or nothing about the Obama and McCain’s positions on the issue. Nevertheless, 55% of respondents said Obama would do a better job of reducing global warming, while only 23% said so of the GOP nominee.

The good news is that Americans appear to be holding themselves responsible as well for the energy crisis. About seven in ten respondents said they're attempting to reduce their carbon footprint, by driving less, using less electricity and recycling.

What do you think? Is Beijing more important than global warming? Should the media step up to the plate and start focusing on more important news? Let us know what you think here!


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