Declining public concern about climate change: Can we blame the great recession? Social surveys suggest that the American public’s environmental science a global concern pdf about climate change has declined dramatically since 2008.
This has led to a search for explanations for this decline, and great deal of speculation that there has been a fundamental shift in public trust in climate science. We evaluate over thirty years of public opinion data about global warming and the environment, and suggest that the decline in belief about climate change is most likely driven by the economic insecurity caused by the Great Recession. Evidence from European nations further supports an economic explanation for changing public opinion. The pattern is consistent with more than forty years of public opinion about environmental policy. Public opinion about climate in the United States has deteriorated considerably in the last three or four years.