In a recent study conducted by the Princeton Survey Research Associaties International and the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found the issue of global warming on the bottom of the nation’s priorities.
Just 28% of the 1,504 adults surveyed found global warming to be top priority-worthy issue, down from 38% in 2007, which is interesting when you consider NASA has just deemed the past decade “the warmest on record.”
The low ranking may be attributed to a party split on the issue with only 11% of Republicans considering global warming a top priority compared with the 43% of Democrats and 25% of independents.
Environmental issues landed at 44%, a bit higher than global warming, but well below the midway mark of priorities included in the study.
Americans may be concerned about global warming and protecting the environment, but certainly not enough to make them top priorities.
Coming in the number one and two spots, respectively, were the economy (83%) and jobs (81%). It makes sense. Americans feel they need to financially stabilize themselves before they go helping birds, fish, and trees during one of the worst economic periods in United State history. But, it’s obvious the environment--birds, fish and trees included--is an issue worth investing in.
So now what?
In President Obama’s State of the Union on Wednesday, he suggested ramping up our economy while investing in the environment.
“We can put Americans to work today building the infrastructure of tomorrow, “said Obama. “There's no reason Europe or China should have the fastest trains, or the new factories that manufacture clean energy products. We should put more Americans to work building clean energy facilities and give rebates to Americans who make their homes more energy-efficient, which supports clean energy jobs.”
It’s nothing new, but I’m glad he made it a point in his speech as a partial solution to the economic crisis, something at least 83% of Americans will tune in on.
Obama cited the possibilities energy innovation has on job market creation using a North Carolina advanced battery company that created 1,200 jobs and a California solar panel business that will create a thousand jobs as examples.
I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change. But here's the thing -- even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy-efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future -- because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. And America must be that nation.
While tackling climate issues directly is important, perhaps in this time of economic turmoil indirect attention can be equally effective.
An overwhelming majority of Americans feel they should focus on the economy and jobs. So, let them focus on jobs, but let’s shift that focus to green jobs that will help reach our environmental goals.