Eco-friendly is a turn off for right-wing Americans

A new study has found that right-wing Americans find all eco-friendly labels a turn-off – particularly on consumer items like lightbulbs. The findings, from the National Academy of Sciences, suggest it is counter-productive for manufacturers ever to stress the environmental benefits of their products.

“Consumers take their ideological beliefs with them when shopping, and conservatives switch off when seeing labels marked ‘protect the environment’”. This was even true when the economic benefits of lower running costs are explained, according to the study.

“More conservative participants prefer to bear a long-term financial cost to avoid purchasing an item associated with valuing environmental protection”, the study concludes.

In a separate study, Harvard political science professor Theda Skocpol (pictured) has tracked how climate change and the environment has become a defining issue for right-wing voters, and hence for those they elect.

“Conservative activists have elevated opposition to the science behind climate change, and hence to taking action on climate change, to become core beliefs”, she concludes.

Now some fundamentalist Christian sects seem overtly to welcome the destabilisation that accelerated climate change will cause, as likely to bring forward the Final Judgment Day.

There is even a special place for incandescent bulbs. In 2011 Republicans in Congress fought hard to repeal a law phasing out incandescent bulbs, even over the objections of manufacturers who had already switched product lines.

Texas Republican congressman Joe Barton casts the battle of the bulb as an issue of liberty: “This is about more than energy consumption. It is about personal freedom.” Similar expressions can be found not just in the blogosphere in the UK, but even in mass-market newspapers like the Daily Express and Daily Mail.

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