The new Pew poll out today on their website,  “Fewer Americans See Solid Evidence of Global Warming,” demonstrates an unfortunate failure to grasp what the public  needs to know about global warming.

Pew should be asking about the extent to which people understand how carbon dioxide and other gases trap heat on the earth, so that their other polling questions can be put in context.  Pew is targeting the wrong headlines, in my view.

In the web article, they state:

Opinions about global warming changed little between 2006 and 2008. In August 2006 and January 2007, 77% said there was solid evidence that the earth’s temperatures were increasing; that figure fell modestly to 71% in April of last year.

We need to know opinions, but, equally if not more important, we need to know the basis that people have for formulating their viewpoints. When it comes to scientific issues with such important implications as global climate change, we need to know what people need to know, from an educational standpoint.  Opinions matter, but so do facts.