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A fickle faith: Climate change concerns evaporate in US polls

Donald Trump would be delighted if Biden and Harris make climate change a leading issue.

Climate change is the luxury fear people wear on their sleeves when they can afford it. It’s a piece of fashion. Optional and discarded at a moment’s notice.

Amid COVID-19, Americans don’t care about climate change anymore

Will Johnson, Fortune Magazine

In a survey we at the Harris Poll conducted last December, American adults said climate change was the number one issue facing society. Today, it comes in second to last on a list of a dozen options, ahead of only overpopulation. Among Gen X men, in fact, more than third dismiss climate change as unimportant. COVID-19 and the recession have, of course, reordered priorities around the world.

We asked a panel of U.S. adults a series of questions about today’s most crucial issues, environmental policy options, and their own behavior. In all three categories, I was personally surprised and discouraged to discover that our devotion to the world around us is flagging.

The rise in the skepticism of the Gen X men is interesting. In UK polls, the peak age of believers was 30 – 50 years which includes a lot of Gen Xers.

The pandemic is undoing years of activism:

And when the pandemic ends—or at least is suitably controlled—American adults say they’ll behave in ways that would increase their carbon footprint. According to our survey, we’ll drive as much as we did before, take public transportation less, bicycle or walk less, buy more clothes, and have more stuff packaged up and shipped to our homes. And most of us plan to jack up the home AC and heat even more than we already have.

It’s taken two decades of relentless advertising to achieve mass compliance and new habits, but just a few months to be reminded of how convenient some things are. The pandemic gave people permission to break the old rules.

This must be killing the greens.

This is perhaps not as huge a shift as implied. Climate change belief has always been wafer thin, and prone to coming and going at a moments notice. No matter how many “cared” when asked the right question, when they have to rank their concerns “climate change” is always near the bottom.

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