In 2008, both Barack Obama and John McCain warned about man-made global warming, Elizabeth Rosenthal notes in the New York Times Magazine, and once elected Obama promised “a new chapter in America’s leadership on climate change.” Today, most Republican presidential candidates seem to agree with Texas Gov. Rick Perry that “the science is not settled” on man-made global warming, and Obama didn’t even mention climate in his last State of the Union Address.
The same dwindling interest is evident in the public. The number of Americans who believe the earth is warming dropped to 59 percent last year from 79 percent in 2006, according to a Pew poll. In a separate poll in which Americans were asked to list their three most pressing environmental concerns from five choices, “global warming/climate change” ranked last, behind even “overpopulation.”