Monday, November 3, 2014

Midterm 2014: Short Term Economic Concerns Trump Environmental Issues

Although climate advocacy groups have worked hard to make environmental issues and clean energy a priority, recent polls suggest it has not worked. Climate change is being trumped by short economic concerns. It would appear that American voters are more concerned about things like the short term price of gas than they are about climate change.

During the period between October 20 to 26, Senate campaign TV advertisements were dominated by energy and the environment. There were more TV ads on energy and the environment than ads about Obamacare, immigration, government spending. Of the almost 15,000 ads that aired 55 percent favored Republicans and 45 percent favored Democrats.

The number of such ads suggest that environment and energy ads are creeping into the conversation. "That’s one signal that energy and environmental issues are a part of the conversation, though obviously the economy and jobs is the lead with voters," noted Daniel Weiss, the senior vice president for campaigns with the League of Conservation Voters.

However, the environment, clean energy and the environment appear to be less important that the price of gas, jobs and the state of the economy. Those concerned with jobs and the economy do not seem to factor the devastating costs of climate change. According to peer-reviewed projections by 2100, the costs of inaction on climate change will outweigh the costs of addressing the problem by $8 trillion.

© 2014, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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