EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said Friday that she puts no faith in a major poll done in January that showed Americans generally don’t see global warming as a priority for the country.
Pew Research Center released the results in January, which said that of 23 issues, “global warming” was the second to last on the list when it comes to people’s priorities for the country. “Scientific research” polled higher, and “global trade” was dead last.
The broad issue of “environment” polled about in the middle for those polled, and the top three were terrorism, the economy and jobs.
But in an event hosted by the New Republic Friday, McCarthy rejected the poll’s findings, and said Americans actually care quite a bit about global warming.
“You’ve got to read other polling that’s been done, because in my opinion, since the president has really stepped up and taken a leadership role here, a very vocal and visible one, the dynamics have changed considerably,” she said.
“And there are things that have happened in that intervening time that continue the momentum forward.”
Her rejection of the poll data from one of the country’s major polling organizations is somewhat ironic, as she and other Democrats have accused Republicans of ignoring what they say is evidence that human activity is leading to a warmer planet.
According to McCarthy, California’s recent decision to clamp down on water usage in the state is one new issue that has gotten people more interested in global warming. A reduced snowpack has clearly led to shortages there, but Republicans say efforts by environmentalists to protect certain fish has made the drought far worse than it needs to be.
“His message in California is reverberating all across the U.S.,” she said of California Gov. Jerry Brown (D). “People are beginning to realize that this is very personal.”
While McCarthy couldn’t point to any new poll showing global warming is more of a concern, she said she believes there is very widespread support to fight global warming among the public.
“I believe there is broad public support for climate change, which does not always translate effectively into the political support,” she said. “But there is growing political support because the public wants a low-carbon future.”