Addressing the United Nations climate summit in New York in September 2014, President Barack Obama declared: “There’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate."
American public opinion lags well behind, however. A New York Times/CBS News Poll in September found that only 46 percent of respondents think that global warming is having a serious impact now (26 percent of total Republicans, 47 percent of Independents, 61 percent of Democrats). Ten percent hold that global warming does not exist (18 percent of Republicans, 10 percent of Independents, 3 percent of Democrats). In contrast, 54 percent accept that global warming is caused mostly by such human activity as burning fossil fuels (35 percent of Republicans, 53 percent of Independents, 67 percent of Democrats). The responses of those who are in denial of climate change are what might be expected from people who tend to denigrate science and think the world is only six thousand years old.