“Which of the following best describes your opinion on climate change?
— “I believe the climate is becoming warmer, and human use of carbon fuels is primarily responsible.
— “I believe the climate is getting warmer, and humans are partly responsible.
— “I believe the climate is getting warmer, but it is a natural change, and humans are not responsible.
— “I do not believe the climate is getting warmer.”
Twenty-seven percent of Republicans took the third option – they believe the Earth is warming, but humans have no part in it.
Twenty-six percent of Republicans – one fourth – said they don’t believe the Earth is warming at all.
So, a majority (53 percent) of GOP Utahns is clearly at odds with the overwhelming, worldwide scientific community, which has stated in any number of studies and reports that the Earth’s temperature is climbing and that human activities are the main reason for that.
Here is just one site that compiles recent scientific reports on climate change.
Overall, most Utahns said in the new poll that the Earth is getting warmer and humans play some part in that change.
Jones finds that 22 percent of Utahns say human burning of carbon fuels is the major reasons for the climbing temperatures and 35 percent say humans are playing some part (a combined 57 percent).
Twenty percent say the climate is warming, but humans play no part in it. And 17 percent of Utahns don’t believe the climate is warming at all.
The poll was conducted Dec. 2-10 of 609 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.97 percent.
Utah Democrats and Republicans couldn’t look on climate change much differently.
A full 96 percent of Democrats say the world is warming and that humans are either the major cause of that or play some role in it.
Only 2 percent of Democrats say the Earth is warming, but humans are not the cause.
And zero percent – that’s not one Democrat polled – said the world is not getting warmer.
Most political independents also believe the Earth is warming and humans play a part in it – 68 percent say humans are the main reason, or they play a part.
Eighteen percent of independents say the world is warming, but humans aren’t the reason, and 11 percent deny the world is warming at all.
The debate over global warming has caused some commentators to proclaim that Americans are becoming a nation of science deniers, refusing to believe in the empirical evidence theories developed over the history of Mankind.
Others say the scientists just haven’t proven their global warming case, and that the Earth has gone through natural climate changes much more severe than what is happening now.
Recent nationwide polls show that most Americans do believe in global warming.
Still, a minority of Americans who say the world is getting warmer lay the blame on human activity.
Surveys nationwide find that Republicans are much less likely to believe in global warming and humans’ part in it.
In Utah, most younger adults (65 percent) believe in global warming and believe humans are the cause, Jones finds.
But those ages 55-64 are more skeptical, 50 percent say the Earth is warming and humans play some part, whereas 21 percent say the Earth is warming naturally, no human cause, and 24 percent say the earth is not warming at all.
Does education play a part in this debate?
Jones finds that 54 percent of those with a high school degree believe the Earth is warming and humans play a part in it.
But 63 percent of college graduates say the same; and 62 percent of those with a post-graduate or professional degree feel the same way.
One-in-five college graduates say the Earth is not warming at all, Jones found.
Finally, Jones finds that among those who said they are “very conservative” politically denying any human reason for climate change, or denying climate change at all, is popular:
— Only 2 percent of the “very conservative” group believe the Earth is getting warmer and humans burning of carbon fuels is the reason.
— 16 percent say the world is warming and humans play some part.
— 34 percent say the Earth is warming, but humans play no part.
— And 40 percent of the “very conservative” say the Earth is not warming at all.