Brits Following Americans in Attitudes about Global Warming

Uh-oh. Fewer citizens of the UK now believe global warming is an urgent problem than at any time in the last four years, according to a survey out this week by pollster YouGov (PDF).

The percentage of British who believe that global warming is either “scare-mongering and we should ignore it” or that “it’s not yet clear” whether it is happening rose to 40 percent from 33 percent in 2009.

Those who believe it is a “serious and urgent problem” dropped nine points to 28 percent from 37. Fifty-seven percent in total believe it is occurring, according to the poll of 4,000 Britons.

The percentage of British “very interested” in global warming shrank precipitously to 18 percent from 31 percent in 2007.

The survey results dovetail with a recent Gallup poll in the US that showed 48 percent of Americans believe the dangers from global warming are “greatly┬áexaggerated,” the highest percentage since at least 2006 (and not counting a spike in the ’04 election year, perhaps since 2001 or earlier).

Both UK and US polling companies cited the Climategate email fiasco, which did serious harm to the global warming cause. The failure of the Copenhagen talks to reach a definitive agreement and Britain’s rather cold winter may have also contributed, according to the Guardian.

The YouGov poll, which was commissioned by French nuclear energy company EDF, showed barely any movement in support for nuclear power plants. Unfavorable views of nuclear energy dropped 3 points to 26 percent, while favorable views dropped one point to 42 percent.

In the US, support for new nukes has grown, with one survey showing support for new plants at 74 percent.

BC (Ben) Upham is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. He has written for the New York Times, and was a writer and editor for News Communications, Inc., a local paper consortium serving Manhattan. When he's not blogging on green issues -- and especially renewable energy -- he's hiking in the Angeles Mountains or hanging out at El Matador.