Guest essay by Eric Worrall
According to New Zealand researcher Sam Crawley, “People who support free-market economics, hold authoritarian attitudes or have exclusionary attitudes towards minorities are also less likely to engage with climate change.”
Most people consider climate change a serious issue, but rank other problems as more important. That affects climate policy
May 19, 2021 1.01pm AEST
Researcher, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington
Straight denial of climate change is now relatively rare. Most people believe it is happening and is a serious problem. But many rank other issues — healthcare and the economy — as more important.
This means people can’t be easily classified as either deniers or believers when it comes to climate change. In my research, I focused on understanding the complexity of climate opinion in light of the slow political response to climate change around the world.
I conducted an online survey in the UK and found 78% of respondents were extremely or fairly certain climate change is happening.
But when asked to rank eight issues (climate change, healthcare, education, crime, immigration, economy, terrorism and poverty) from most to least important to the country, 38% ranked climate change as least important, with a further 15% placing it seventh out of eight.
Fewer than 5% of 3,445 respondents in the 2017 New Zealand Election Study said the environment was the most important election issue and an even smaller number specifically mentioned climate change.
People who support free-market economics, hold authoritarian attitudes or have exclusionary attitudes towards minorities are also less likely to engage with climate change.
…Read more: https://theconversation.com/most-people-consider-climate-change-a-serious-issue-but-rank-other-problems-as-more-important-that-affects-climate-policy-161080
Until activists produce evidence there actually is a climate crisis, I suspect their cause will continue to struggle to hold the attention of ordinary people. Losing your job is a crisis. A positive Covid test and a persistent cough is terrifying. A few degrees of warming feels like Summer.
As for the “free-market economics” crack, if climate activists stopped pushing command economy communism as the solution to climate change, say if more activists supported right wing emissions reduction solutions, like removing bureaucratic obstacles to the commissioning new zero carbon nuclear power plants, they might get more engagement from the right. But then I guess there wouldn’t really be any point to climate activism.