A global poll of major economies by the BBC finds that the people of the USA are more resistant to action on climate change than most other nations.
Although nearly three-quarters of Americans say climate change is "very serious" (45%) or "somewhat serious" (29%) a large minority (42%) oppose "government investment to address climate change if it hurts the economy". The chart reproduced on the right shows how this level of opposition to government action is larger than any other industrial nation.
Despite this domestic tension Barack Obama is now expected to attend the final stages of the Copenhagen Conference on climate change. Amid reports that more progress is now likely at the international gathering than originally expected, the US President is to switch his attendance from the beginning of the gathering to the end.
The usefulness of the BBC survey has to be doubted. Its finding that just 25% of UK voters oppose "government investment to address climate change" would appear to be encouraging for those environmentalists wanting bold action. But more detailed polling in Britain by leading pollster ICM for The Sunday Telegraph finds much more scepticism:
"Asked if they backed the main conclusion of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), that humans are largely responsible for modern day rises in temperatures, 52 per cent of [British] voters agreed. However, 39 per cent said climate change had not yet been proven to be man made, while seven per cent simply denied the phenomenon was happening at all. Furthermore, fewer than one in four voters (23 per cent) believed that climate change was "the most serious problem faced by man" – a view endorsed by governments across the world. A clear majority (58 per cent) said it was merely "one of a number of serious problems" while 17 per cent believed it has been exaggerated and is "not a very serious problem.""
More on The Telegraph website.