America’s Complacency About Climate Change

Ezra Klein and Jesse Zwick at The Vine both discuss this University of Maryland survey which asks people to rate climate change as a priority from one (low) to ten (high) and then reports an average:


It’s perhaps not so surprising that Palestinians and Iraqis feel they have bigger fish to fry, but even they care more about the issue than Americans do. Conventional wisdom is that people don’t like the idea of economic sacrifice for environmental gain, especially during a recession, but China and India and Chile and Poland and Germany are all populated by people too. My guess would be that the difference is the presence of a large, well-financed, and influential denialist elite. But to test that you’d have to try to look at other countries with substantial denialist elites; I think the Czech Republic and Australia fit the bill but neither made the survey.