More US citizens concerned about long-term threat of climate change than coronavirus

Around 35% of respondents said they now trust their government’s ability to tackle the climate crisis less than they did before the pandemic

More US citizens are concerned about the long-term threats posed by climate change than they are about the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s the suggestion made in new research from YouGov and the Climate Group, which surveyed more than 1,000 people across the country and found 55% said the changing environment was likely to prove a serious and lasting concern in the future, compared to 44% that said the same about COVID-19.

Nearly 70% said climate action is just as, if not more, important now compared to before the virus outbreak, but 35% say they now trust their government’s ability to tackle the climate crisis less than they did before the virus.

Around 56% believe businesses across the US should be addressing climate change with an equal, if not greater, sense of urgency as COVID-19, with 47% thinking businesses should create green jobs as a key action to tackle climate change.

Despite 18% of respondents suggesting the government shouldn’t worry about addressing climate in recovery plans, 58% say there should be “some form of green strings attached to economic recovery post-pandemic” and 31% believe financial support should be prioritised for businesses that are reducing emissions and contributing to green employment.

Overall, 49% say the process of tackling climate change will be good for the economy, but 55% think big US businesses are currently not taking enough action to adequately mitigate the threat.

Helen Clarkson, CEO of the Climate Group, said: “Americans agree that we need to continue to fight climate change at the same time as tackling a global health pandemic. The single biggest opportunity to grow back our economies out of a global recession and secure our future comes from investing in climate-forward policies.

“People don’t want to go back to the way things were. And we know from our partners, including over 350 multinationals and more than 200 states and regions from around the world, that their commitment to climate overwhelmingly remains, but there’s a clear demand for more action and accountability. Climate Week NYC will provide that critical opportunity to bring together CEOs and policymakers to focus on what they can collectively do to rebuild a greener, fairer future.”

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