A Somber Earth Day Finding

Polling from CBS News/YouGuv shows an inverse relationship between the economy and the environment. A year ago, 56% of respondents rated climate change as an urgent issue. Today's Earth Day finding shows it at 49% as doubts grow about the economy.

2 minute read

April 24, 2022, 9:00 AM PDT

By Irvin Dawid

Washington D.C. Protest

Nicole Glass Photography / Shutterstock

As concerns grow about the economy and inflation, people are less inclined to believe that climate change is an urgent matter that needs to be addressed, let alone an existential threat.

“A year ago, when more Americans rated the national economy as 'good' than they do now, more people saw climate change as urgent,” writes Jennifer De Pinto, a political editor for CBS News on Earth Day 2022. “As views of the economy have grown more negative, the percentage saying climate change needs to be dealt with immediately has ebbed.”

Views of the economy and climate change chart
[Courtesy of CBS News]

De Pinto reports on one of the findings of the latest CBS News/YouGuv poll, released April 11, that was “conducted with a nationally representative sample of 2,062 U.S. adult residents interviewed between April 5-8, 2022. The margin of error is ± 2.8 points.”

Climate change was considered an “issue that should be a high priority” by 39% of respondents, lower than five other issues and tied with COVID-19:

  • Economy (76%)
  • Inflation (73%)
  • Crime (59%)
  • Russia/Ukraine (58%)
  • Immigration (48%)

While the 7-point drop from last year to 49% in the percentage of people who “think climate change needs to be addressed right away” is not that steep, it is widespread across “age, race, and education groups, as well as partisan stripes,” adds De Pinto.

On the positive side, it was far higher than the 19% who felt it should be addressed in the “next few years,” and the 18% who answered, “not at all.”

Hat tip to CBS Mornings.

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