Guest essay by Eric Worrall
According to a new study, big heatwaves and other major weather events drive up the green vote, but only when people feel economically secure.
Climate change experiences raise environmental concerns and promote Green voting
Public support is fundamental in scaling up actions to limit global warming. Here, we analyse how the experience of climate extremes influences people’s environmental attitudes and willingness to vote for Green parties in Europe. To this end, we combined high-resolution climatological data with regionally aggregated, harmonized Eurobarometer data (34 countries) and European Parliamentary electoral data (28 countries). Our findings show a significant and sizeable effect of temperature anomalies, heat episodes and dry spells on environmental concern and voting for Green parties. The magnitude of the climate effect differs substantially across European regions. It is stronger in regions with a cooler Continental or temperate Atlantic climate and weaker in regions with a warmer Mediterranean climate. The relationships are moderated by regional income level suggesting that climate change experiences increase public support for climate action but only under favourable economic conditions. The findings have important implications for the current efforts to promote climate action in line with the Paris Agreement.Read more: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-021-01263-8
Sadly the study is paywalled, but I think we get the idea.
This study supports my theory of the cyclic nature of green policies. Every time politicians try to kickstart the green revolution, the economy tanks, and voters discover other priorities. Politicians either back off or lose the next election. Then a few years later, when everyone has forgotten how bad it was, they whole sorry cycle starts over again.