Tom Steyer’s Effort To Mobilize Youths On Global Warming Hasn’t Worked Very Well, New Research Suggests

Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor

New research suggests Democratic billionaire Tom Steyer’s multi-million dollar effort to mobilize young voters around the issue of global warming hasn’t been very successful.

“Based upon this analysis of recent global warming public opinion data, little has changed generationally in the intervening years,” Johns Hopkins University researcher Shruti Kuppa wrote in her analysis of polling on global warming beliefs done seven years apart.

Kuppa compared polling from 2017 to polling of millennials and other generational groups’ attitudes on global warming conducted in 2010. Researchers with Yale University and George Mason University conducted both polls.

Steyer founded his political group, NextGen Climate Action, in 2013 with the goal of mobilizing the youth vote behind candidates backing global warming policies, including a $25-million effort to get millennials to back pro-climate policy Democrats in the 2016 election.

“We are determined that they will be a difference maker,” Steyer told reporters that year.

Not much has changed in the last seven years despite Steyer, and other like-minded groups, spending millions of dollars trying to mobilize young voters around global warming.

“Overall, Millennials demonstrate similar or less engagement on global warming than older generations,” Kuppa wrote. “Millennials are less likely to discuss global warming with their friends and family than the older generations.”

Steyer, however, is not alone in trying to mobilize public opinion around man-made global warming. (RELATED: Congress Questions US Environmental Group’s Ties To The Chinese Government)

A recent study found liberal foundations spent nearly $567 million on global warming-related funding between 2011 to 2015, including $92.4 million for “climate change-related communication, media, and public mobilization.”

Another $46.6 million was spent on “renewable energy-related communication, media, and public mobilization efforts,” the study found.

Polling in recent years suggests that while Americans worry about global warming in the abstract, few rank it among the top priorities elected officials should address — even among Democrats.

Only 6 percent of likely voters think Democrats should focus on fighting global warming if they take back Congress in 2019, according to a March poll by Civis Analytics, which is made up of former Obama campaign staffers.

Kuppa’s results suggest millennials are not more likely than any other generation to care about global warming.

“Belief in global warming, its importance, and perceived efficacy in addressing the problem are no greater among Millennials than any other generation,” Kuppa wrote in her analysis.

“Liberal Millennials are less likely than liberals of other generations to have thought a lot about global warming before taking the survey and less likely to believe that people in the U.S. are being harmed now by global warming,” she wrote.

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