Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Which Country Has the Most Climate Deniers?

Climate
Which Country Has the Most Climate Deniers?

It's not necessarily a competition you should be particularly keen to win, but which country in the world has the most climate change “skeptics?”

A new study carried out across 14 industrialized nations found out which advanced countries have the most climate deniers.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Most people would probably hazard a guess at the U.S., what with its preponderance of climate-science-denying think tanks, conservative television and radio hosts, and politicians who think it’s all a hoax.

But a new study that analyzed identical surveys carried out across 14 industrialized nations has found that when it comes to climate science denial, Australia tops the pile.

Published in the journal Global Environmental Change, the study found that 17 percent of Australians were “climate skeptics.”

Norwegians come in second at 15 percent, followed by New Zealanders at 13 percent and then Americans at 12 percent. The UK tied for fifth with Sweden and Finland, where 10 percent of people were skeptics. The lowest ranked country for climate skepticism was Spain, where only two percent of people were classified as climate skeptics.

"Climate skepticism persists despite overwhelming scientific evidence that anthropogenic climate change is occurring," say the authors. The study, authored by two scientists at the University of Tasmania, used data from surveys carried out in 14 countries in 2010 and 2011.

While the survey did not directly ask people if they accepted the science linking climate change to human activities, the respondents were asked how dangerous rising temperatures would be for the environment.

People who thought rising temperatures were “not very dangerous” or “not dangerous at all” and who also thought claims about environmental issues were exaggerated were classed as “climate skeptics.” While the authors accept in the paper that their approach was limited, they argue that the method enables them to do a valuable comparison of skepticism across countries.

Generally, the study found that climate skepticism tended to be associated with a lack of trust in governments and “positive attitudes” towards private enterprise. Skeptics also tended to be male and tended to vote conservative.

The researchers also tried to test the idea that climate skeptics tended to also be generally unconcerned about environmental issues, but found those two measures were only modestly linked with each other.

Across all countries, the authors wrote that only three factors—“political orientations (conservative), gender (male) and being unconcerned about environmental issues”—were “relatively consistent predictors” of climate change skepticism.

The findings tend to support other studies that have found that conservative ideologies and support for private enterprise are strong indicators of climate skepticism and denial. The authors of the Global Environmental Change study concluded:

Low levels of trust in ‘the people in government’ is associated with climate skepticism, as is valuing private enterprise to solve economic problems. Rejecting government intervention in the reduction of income inequality also reflects laissez-faire attitudes towards ‘big government’ among climate skeptics.

But the finding that Australians, Norwegians and New Zealanders are more skeptical than Americans is surprising.

Last year, a survey from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication found that only 66 percent of U.S. voters thought that climate change was happening.

Only 51 percent of registered voters thought that global warming was mostly caused by climate change. But like the Global Environmental Change study, the Yale survey also found that conservatives tended to reject the evidence of human-caused climate change. Among the most conservative Republicans, only 22 percent were willing to accept that climate change was mostly caused by human activities.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Will Seafood Soon Disappear From the Menu?

Should I Be Concerned About Arsenic in My Rice?

Carl Pope: Paris Climate Talks Could Bring as Much Progress as Previous 20 COP’s Combined

A 3-hour special film by EarthxTV calls for protection of the Amazon and its indigenous populations. EarthxTV.org

To save the planet, we must save the Amazon rainforest. To save the rainforest, we must save its indigenous peoples. And to do that, we must demarcate their land.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivers a video speech at the high-level meeting of the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland on Feb. 22, 2021. Xinhua / Zhang Cheng via Getty Images

By Anke Rasper

"Today's interim report from the UNFCCC is a red alert for our planet," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The report, released Friday, looks at the national climate efforts of 75 states that have already submitted their updated "nationally determined contributions," or NDCs. The countries included in the report are responsible for about 30% of the world's global greenhouse gas emissions.

Read More Show Less

Trending

New Delhi's smog is particularly thick, increasing the risk of vehicle accidents. SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP via Getty Images

India's New Delhi has been called the "world air pollution capital" for its high concentrations of particulate matter that make it harder for its residents to breathe and see. But one thing has puzzled scientists, according to The Guardian. Why does New Delhi see more blinding smogs than other polluted Asian cities, such as Beijing?

Read More Show Less
A bridge over the Delaware river connects New Hope, Pennsylvania with Lambertville, New Jersey. Richard T. Nowitz / Getty Images

In a historic move, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted Thursday to ban hydraulic fracking in the region. The ban was supported by all four basin states — New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York — putting a permanent end to hydraulic fracking for natural gas along the 13,539-square-mile basin, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Read More Show Less
Woodpecker

Colombia is one of the world's largest producers of coffee, and yet also one of the most economically disadvantaged. According to research by the national statistic center DANE, 35% of the population in Columbia lives in monetary poverty, compared to an estimated 11% in the U.S., according to census data. This has led to a housing insecurity issue throughout the country, one which construction company Woodpecker is working hard to solve.

Read More Show Less