President Obama calls climate change "the global threat of our time." Americans don't quite agree with that assessment.
In a Pew poll released Monday, only 40 percent of Americans said global climate change was a "major threat." That placed it behind financial instability, Islamic extremism, and China's influence — and just above "political instability in Pakistan" (37 percent) — on a list of other potential threats Pew tested.
While Americans didn't think too much of global warming, the world as a whole did. Among the 39 countries Pew surveyed combined, climate change was viewed as the number one threat.
That finding, which came one day before Obama laid out an aggressive plan to combat climate change and reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S., isn't all that surprising. Gallup has in recent years found Americans lukewarm to the idea that global warming is a problem.
A March survey found that a combined 55 percent of Americans said they worried a "great deal" or a "fair amount" about global warming. Yet that figure was way down from the high of 72 percent recorded back in 2000.
Americans' opinion on the subject split largely along party lines. While 42 percent of Democrats in that Gallup poll said they worried about global warming a great deal, 40 percent of Republicans said they didn't worry about it at all.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Bush vs. Clinton in 2016 is the perfect way to make millennials hate politics even more
- The latent sexism of the male marriage proposal
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- This judge is the reason we're still fighting over net neutrality
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- The week's best photojournalism
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
Subscribe to the Week