26 October 2012

Climate Change: It's the Economy, Stupid

As we near the US Presidential Election, it was noted that for the first time in 24 years climate change did not feature once in any of the 3 Presidential Debates.

This prompted David Attenborough, one of the UK's leading naturalists, to speculate on what, if anything would change the US public's minds. He said it would have to be a disaster, clearly linked to global warming.
A related report in Foreign Policy by Kate Sheppard, says, its not that people don't think the climate is changing, but that they do not have the capacity to worry about it that much due to the global economic downturn.

She cites a 2012 paper by Scruggs and Benegal in Global Environmental Change which poses the question: "Declining public concern about climate change: Can we blame the great recession?" Their answer is yes.

They use 3 data sources for their regression work (fitting lines to data and then figuring out if there is causation): (1) pooled averages from US opinion surveys from 3 different organisations from the past 15 years, (2) individual level responses from PEW surveys and (3) data on country level opinions about climate change from EuroBarometer data between 2008-2009.

They find plenty of evidence correlating unemployment with belief and concern that global warming is happening and is a serious threat: stronger than media effects and stronger than local weather anomalies--although church going and a very conservative ideology had stronger associations than unemployment. But they can't really test for causation with their small sample sizes.
They suggest that when the economy picks up, more capacity can be directed to addressing climate change. Ironically, the pick up in the economy will accelerate emissions--there is no counter cyclical force on attention to climate change.

It is clear that when economic growth picks up, we need to be ready to strike while the iron--and the earth--is hot.


Unknown said...

We all know that Obama won. I'm quite happy about the results but I wish that the economy will blossom once again. I declared bankruptcy last year and I managed to form an llc online and I was able to gain a little ground once again because of the llc.

Ryan Donovan said...

Because of the recession many companies relied on offshore outsourcing to save dollars for manpower. Many offshore accounts are created in the past three years. Actually with this way they are not helping the recession but they don't want to be bankrupted right?

Erik Slayden said...

These are only few problems the government and society faces. I think they should also address educational problems to avoid the rising smart tuition complaints. Education is also a factor in economic growth, that’s why they shouldn’t underestimate these educational issues.

Ryan Wuest said...

Every elected leader should make it a point to establish a body that can help our environment. If we could solve our environmental problems, mankind will be the beneficiary. They should make joint efforts for this to be successful.