Economic recession does not lend well to environmental causes. When it comes down to job hunting or combating global climate change, personal needs tend to come first.
About two decades of Gallup survey data show a strong correlation between unemployment rates and the perception that the media “exaggerate the seriousness of global warming,” they found. Even in Europe, where concern and acceptance of climate change science is higher than in the United States, concern declined after the recession hit, according to them.
This is not a new trend. Lyle Scruggs and Salil Benegal of the University of Connecticut write: “The pattern is consistent with more than 40 years of public opinion about environmental policy.”
Many feel efforts towards solving climate change will stifle economic growth. However, there is hope, with improved economies comes a shift in the public opinion on climate change. They also write:
Both would obviously improve more quickly if planetary stewardship can become a catalyst for economic recovery and transformation, and not instinctively seen as a barrier to that goal.