Backlash, Polls Confirm Climate Change Is Low-Priority Issue

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by H. Sterling Burnett at

Opinion polls and the actions of countries around the globe prove once again climate change ranks behind most other issues in the public’s mind and certainly behind the economy.

A story in the Washington Post (WaPo) notes that even amid the media’s blitzkrieg of climate alarm surrounding the present heatwave, most people are not clamoring for radical climate action:

If proponents of climate policies thought this year’s scorching summer temperatures and extreme weather events would propel the world to embrace rapid action to lower greenhouse gas emissions, they were sorely mistaken. If there is to be any hope that governments might address this issue, they will need a new strategy.

Around the world, nations are choosing to prioritize economic growth and national interest over climate policy.

Which countries seem to be prioritizing their national interests and people’s well-being over climate change, according to WaPo? China, India, Indonesia, and various countries in the European Union, to name a few. Although China, India, and other developing countries clamoring for economic growth have long talked the talk about climate policies, they have never walked the walk. Instead, they consistently increase their fossil fuel use even in the face of heat waves, hurricanes, and droughts. They recognize that such weather events are natural and the best defense is wealth.

The surprise for some is Europe, long the leader in clamoring for climate action. Climate-driven energy and farm policies are bringing protests, and climate protesters are facing sometimes-violent backlash. Right-of-center governments are coming to power there, and new parties are forming to represent the interests of people dependent on fossil fuels—and they are winning government seats. Governments are listening and watering down or backing off their climate commitments or timetables and boosting fossil fuel use and production. From Germany to Ireland to Italy, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and the United Kingdom, climate action is taking a back seat to other priorities.

In some countries, new governments less committed to radical climate action are taking power. In other countries, governments fearing economic decline and a loss of political power are responding to heat waves and other weather events not with a greater commitment to fighting climate change but with proposals to water down existing climate commitments. Heat or no heat, governments are cooling on climate action.

Polls show most of the public supports a focus on matters other than the “existential threat” climate change supposedly poses.

In the United Kingdom, for example,, a Britain-based international internet market research and data analytics company, conducted a brief, one-question survey on behalf of CAR 26, a UK-based organization that campaigns for informed and rational analysis of climate matters, and my own Heartland Institute.

In 2021, CAR sponsored a survey which asked, “To what extent would you support or oppose having ‘eco-lockdowns’ (lockdowns for environmental reasons) in the future for the UK to meet its Net Zero Carbon targets?” At the time, 39 percent of those who had an opinion on the matter strongly supported COVID-19-style lockdowns to fight climate change, with government forcibly keeping people home and cutting their energy use.

Despite two additional years of accelerated fearmongering by climate-profiteering elites and their lapdogs in the mainstream media, the number of those surveyed who strongly support eco-lockdowns has fallen by 20 percent in a new survey in 2023, with the decline in support most significant among those who identify themselves as politically liberal. The survey also showed strong opposition to government lockdowns to meet net-zero targets has increased from 62 percent to 64 percent.

Should that surprise anyone? I think not, based on a recent survey conducted in the United States.

The Quinnipiac University Polling Institute asked Americans whether they were concerned about climate change, among other questions. Forty-two percent of those polled said they were very concerned, and 25 percent were somewhat concerned. The remaining third of those surveyed were either not so concerned (12 percent) or not concerned at all (20 percent). The poll surveyed 2,056 adults 18 years and older, with 1,809 describing themselves as registered voters.

The media hype has worked in the United States. Despite copious amounts of data showing extreme weather events such as droughts, floods, and hurricanes have not increased in number or severity in recent decades, 60 percent of those surveyed “think that the extreme weather events in the United States over the past few years are related to climate change.”

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