Climate Change Polls Are like the Weather: Everyone Likes to Talk About it.

Polls are interesting tools for persuasion but their validity depends on sample size and how the questions are asked. Most polls on issues that concern Americans put the environment near the bottom. While people may express concern about climate change, it is not what concerns them the most and it is less of a concern when the cost of action is made clear.

Most Hispanic voters are concerned about their children’s education and improving their standard of living. They want to live the American dream and are following the path taken by our ancestors when they immigrated to the US. It is a truism that all politics are local and what will most concern Hispanic voters are the issues that touch their lives today, not as some distant time in the future.

It is hard to imagine any candidate that is not in favor of environmental improvement, which has been taking place for 40 years and shows no signs of stopping. Candidates and interest groups who play on voter fears are not interested in education, they are interested in pushing their own agenda.

For Hispanics as with most Americans, the most important question on their minds is whether their children will be better off than they were. In this week’s Wall Street Journal, William Galston addressed that question in an opinion piece titled A Shared Prosperity is a Moral Imperative. He wrote, “In modern circumstances, economic growth is more than a material objective; it is a moral enterprise as well.” He then went on to cite the 2005 book “The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth, lies not just in the concrete improvements it bring to how individuals live but in how it shapes the social, political, and ultimately the moral character of a people.”

The shared prosperity objective that Mr. Galston writes about is based on strong economic growth and full employment. Since the Great Recession the labor participation rate has fallen to the lowest level in about four decades as the number of people who have dropped out of the work force continues to increase. The objectives that Hispanics hold dear for their families and children require full employment and robust economic growth.

Those objectives will not be realized as long as the Obama administration and its EPA pursue policies that drive up the cost of electricity and mobility—owning a car and fueling it. The administration is pursuing the policies that have been so prevalent in the EU and which have produced disastrous consequences. Germany, the EU’s economic engine, has among the highest electricity rates on the continent, stagnant growth which has turned negative, and an energy policy that has driven industry to more hospitable environs.

If we don’t learn this lesson we surely will be condemned to relive it to the detriment of all citizens, not just Hispanics. A few more years with no warming—The Farmers Almanac forecasts a very cold winter—and the global warming/climate change hobgoblin will join the long list of other hobgoblins that menace before becoming imaginary.
This article appeared on the National Journal’s Energy Insiders weblog at http://disqus.com/wokeefe/

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