Bradford Plumer offers some interesting thoughts in this piece about the causes of slow federal progress on climate change legislation.
Climate change is a world public bad and most people free ride. Overcoming the free rider problem is tough. How do you build up a “moral majority”? The people of Berkeley are willing to do their part (and so am I) but who else is with us? The great recession has not helped. Have you read my paper with Matthew Kotchen on this subject? Rush Limbaugh did (click here) and he didn’t like my work!
Environmental Concern and the Business Cycle: The Chilling Effects of Recessions
This paper uses three different sources of data to investigate the association between the business cycle—measured with unemployment rates—and environmental concern. Building on recent research that finds internet search terms to be useful predictors of health epidemics and economic activity, we find that an increase in a state’s unemployment rate decreases Google searches for “global warming” and increases searches for “unemployment,” and that the effect differs according to a state’s political ideology. From national surveys, we find that an increase in a state’s unemployment rate is associated with a decrease in the probability that residents think global warming is happening and reduced support for the U.S to target policies intended to mitigate global warming. Finally, in California, we find that an increase in a county’s unemployment rate is associated with a significant decrease in county residents choosing the environment as the most important policy issue. Beyond providing the first empirical estimates of macroeconomic effects on environmental concern, we discuss the results in terms of the potential impact on environmental policy and understanding the full cost of recessions.