In What Makes People Who Really Care About Climate Change Different?, Andrew McGill tries to justify Republican legislators blocking climate action while two thirds of their constituents are in favor of an international treaty addressing carbon emissions by claiming that Republican legislator actions match constituents "real" priorities if you "ask the right question".

Late last year, a comprehensive survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute showed that only 5 percent of Americans saw climate change as the country’s No.... Most said jobs, income inequality, and health care were more important.

This framing trick really annoys me, comparing immediate effects and long term causes to prove people don't care about the causes.

In 'A regional symptom of a global problem': Climate change in Senegal, Benazir Wehelie presents immediate effects of climate change in proper context.

"Every place will experience climate change in its own way. ... It's not an isolated thing that's happening in isolated places. It's happening in varying ways all over the globe." Rybus said.

… while we may be discussing the climate, we are also discussing human lives.

"Oftentimes, larger issues are more influenced by climate than we think," she said.

… as time goes by without effective climate change policy put into place, I think we'll see a lot of issues becoming worse because of the influence that our climate and environment has over the lives of people."

In other words, climate change worsening because we fail to take coordinated global action will make problems of jobs, income inequality and health far worse.

One could also argue that the other issues flow from income inequality in the sense that the wealthy (controlling) 0.01%  make jobs worse (for their higher profits), cut back health care, and cause the climate change situation by refusing to give up fossil fuels. You can't easily separate such variables and then pit them against one another to "prove" citizens don't really want what they say they want.

The wording of that poll by the Public Religion Research Institute reminds of the song "You Can't Win!" from The Wiz.

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Replies to This Discussion

Ruth, if polls are to influence legislators, they have to include questions such as:

1) how many hours do you work in candidates' election campaigns, and

2) how many dollars do you contribute to candidates' election campaigns.

Incumbent legislators have to fear the next election.

Pollsters and politicians would love it if poll answers could be reliably weighted by the person's likelihood of voting, and of influencing other voters!

"How many of your videos have gone viral?"

"How many of your social-media followers voted in the last election for U.S. Senator?"

Good point, tom.

That's right, polls tell us more about the pollsters opinions than public opinion.

A bit from the lyrics, especially apropos to our unelected corporate government:

"'You can't win, you can't break even'
Ain't the way it's supposed to be.
You'll be spendin' your little bit of money
While someone else rides for free.
" (2:17)

Robert Reich's article yesterday about the benefits of U.S. corporate "citizenship" (that he says shouldn't be available to "deserters" like Pfizer, which is moving to Ireland) highlights some of those free rides, including patent monopolies much more generous than most other advanced economies.

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