Americans’ reaction to climate change data more ‘ho-hum’ than ‘holy cow!’

    Barack Obama

    President Obama puts his hand to his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance at the 102nd Abraham Lincoln Association banquet in Springfield, Ill., in 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

    Findings from this week’s U.N. report on climate change couldn’t be more explicit, stressing that the effects of warming are being felt everywhere, fueling potential food shortages and natural disasters, even rasing the risk of war. How do Americans respond?

    We turn to Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll. Up this week:

    [Hit the audio button above to hear the full interview.]

    • Americans still don’t appear to be that concerned about climate change, compared to other environmental problems like water pollution. And the data show that current levels of concern are no different from more than 20 years ago, one of the big paradoxes of our time.

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    • Gallup will begin to release on Friday new data reporting on one of the most extensive polling programs at the state level ever conducted — 30,000 interviews, with at least 600 in each state. The first results to be released are based on each state’s residents’ responses to the question asking how much they trust their state government. Pennsylvania scores in the bottom 10. The place to be is North Dakota, apparently, where everyone trusts the government. The place not to be is Illinois. In general, states in the upper Midwest and West do best on this measure. Also states with lower populations — except for Texas.

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