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Swedes' environmental interest plummets: report

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10:10 CEST+02:00
Public interest in climate issues has dropped to its lowest point in five years, according to the upcoming annual SOM report from the University of Gothenburg.

Only 14 percent of Swedes currently consider the environment to be among our most important problems, reports daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

This is the lowest figure since 2006, and far behind the record-high figures of the late eighties, when Swedes' environmental involvement truly boomed.

Green Party leader Gustav Fridolin believes the responsibility for this diminished interest lies with politicians who fail to prioritize the issue.

"We don't make sure to build new train tracks, which makes it look as though the climate issue wasn't so important," he told TV channel TV4.

Swedes' environmental interest was relatively low from 1996 and ten years onwards, according to the SOM institute's investigation.

In 2006, however, several events led to climate issues making a comeback, and interest in them rose once more.

US politician slash environmentalist Al Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth" was released, the Stern report was published, and the media began to report more heavily about the climate threat.

During the following years, one in five Swedes considered climate and environmental issues to be among the most important societal problems.

This trend has now been broken, and last year this number had decreased heavily, from 21 to 14 percent.

"There is a connection between the media's reporting and the interest among the general public," said Björn Rönnerstrand, PhD student in political scientist, and one of the authors behind the SOM report, to Svenska Dagbladet.

"And during 2010 the reporting has gone down to a more everyday level."

Even during the past couple of years, Swedes' eco-interest was far from the levels of the late eighties, when environmental interest was at its highest.

In the record year 1988, as many as 62 percent listed environmental issues among the most important problems.

The University of Gothenburg's SOM report will be published on Tuesday.

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