Wednesday, 2 July 2008

*Climate more urgent than economy, say voters

From Today's Guardian

Voters think that taking action against climate change matters more than
tackling the global economic downturn, according to a poll published today.

The results, which will delight green campaigners, suggest
that support for environmental action is not collapsing as feared in the
face of possible recession.

When asked whether tackling the environment or the economy - given global
economic problems - should be the government's priority, 52% said the
environment and 44% said the economy. That contradicts the widespread
assumption that environmental issues are seen by voters as a luxury to be
put aside in tough economic times.

Today's poll also throws into question whether the environment is an issue
that only matters to richer, southern voters. Although women are more likely
than men to place the environment ahead of the economy as an issue - 55% of
women say it is a priority, against 49% of men - support for action is
strong across all ages, regions and social groups.

Far from being the greenest part of the population, middle-class voters are
actually more sceptical than most about the need for action, perhaps because
they fear they have more to lose from increased bills and taxes. Voters in
the richest AB group are the only ones to place the economy ahead of the
environment as a government priority: 50% say the economy and 47% the

There is also no evidence that the environment is an issue that matters more
to young people. Pensioners are almost as likely as people aged 18-24 to say
climate change should be the government's priority.

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