PUBLIC AWARENESS IN the United States of the issue of global warming increased from about one-third in the early 1980s to near 100 percent 25 years later. By 2007, climate change was featured in the media almost daily. Awareness does not necessarily imply acceptance; although polls indicate that over half of Americans consider climate change to be real, there remains widespread public uncertainty about the degree to which human activities are involved, and to what extent CO2 emissions need to be curtailed. There also remain widespread misconceptions about the meaning of global warming, and likely effects.

Public acceptance of human-induced climate change as a real phenomenon has lagged well behind the scientific consensus. In the mid-1970s, the popular media widely reported that the Earth was cooling ...

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