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Sun Mar 26 2006 10:41:53 ET

Eighty-five percent (85%) of Americans say global warming is probably happening, according to a new TIME magazine/ABC News/Stanford University poll, out Sunday, March 26th. A vast majority of respondents (88%) think global warming threatens future generations. More than half (60%) say it threatens them a great deal. About four-in-ten (38%) feel that global warming is already a serious problem, 47% feel that it will be in the future. TIME's special 26-page cover story, 'Be Worried. Be Very Worried,' hits newsstands Monday, March 27th.

Half of Americans (52%) say weather patterns in the county where they live have grown more unstable in the last three years and half (50%) feel that average temperatures have risen in their county. A majority (70%) thinks weather patterns globally have become more unstable in the last three years and more than half (56%) feel average temperatures around the world have risen.

Almost half (49%) say the issue of global warming is 'extremely' or 'very important' to them personally, up from 31% in 1998. When asked about the causes of rise in the world's temperatures, about three-in-ten (31%) feel it is caused by the things people do, almost one fifth (19%) feel it is caused mostly by natural causes; almost half (49%) feel it is a combination of the two. Almost seven-in-ten (68%) Americans think the government should do more to address global warming, according to the poll. More than six-in-ten respondents (64%) think scientists disagree with one another about global warming.

Two-thirds of Americans (66%) say President George W. Bush's policies did little or nothing to help the environment in the past year. More than half (54%) feel American businesses did little or nothing to help. Three-quarters want to see Bush and others-Congress, American businesses and the American public-take action to help the environment in the year ahead. However, about one-third (35%) of Americans say that in the past year they have personally given a lot of thought to the impact they were having on the environment.

Six-in-ten Americans (62%) think much can be done to curb global warming and 52% favor government mandates. Six-in-ten (61%) say they would support a government mandate on lowering power plant emissions, and 87% support tax breaks to develop water, wind and solar power. Eighty-one percent oppose higher taxes on electricity, 68% oppose higher gasoline taxes and 56% oppose giving companies tax breaks to build nuclear power plants.

The partisan gap on global warming seems to be shifting, according to the poll. In 1998, 31% of Republicans and Independents alike were sure that global warming was happening; it was not a distant 39% among Democrats. Today, 46% of Democrats and 45% of Independents are certain, and 26% of Republicans feel that way, according to the TIME/ABC News/Stanford University poll.


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