Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

Hot topic: Air, water pollution top America's environmental worries

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37245 full

As most of the country is gripped in a brutal heat wave, a recent Washington Post-Stanford University poll finds that climate change is no longer the primary environmental concern of Americans.

According to the poll, air and water pollution is now the number one ecological situation Americans worry about at 27 percent, compared to just 18 percent who cited climate change. A similar poll taken back in 2007 had climate change in the top spot with 33 percent.

AFP points out that the survey of 800 people occurred between June 13 and 21, before the current record-breaking temperatures overtook a large part of the nation. Still almost three quarters of those polled believe the world is heating up and will continue to rise unless something is done to stop it. Seventy-eight percent of the respondents said global warming will be a serious problem if left alone, and 55 percent replied that the U.S. government should do "a great deal.”

“The good news is that the public understands that the global warming problem is serious, and they overwhelmingly support serious solutions,” said Gene Karpinksi, president of the League of Conservation Voters to the Washington Post. “The sad news is that, with reduced mainstream-media coverage and with big polluters and their allies in the media and in Congress falsely screaming hoax, the issue is not as high a priority. But record-breaking temperatures, intense droughts and wildfires, and other climate-related disasters will hopefully be a wake-up call.”

The poll has a margin error of 4.5 percent.

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