Quantcast
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

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
Popular
Old White Truck / Flickr

The Last Straw? EU Official Hints Ban on Single-Use Plastic Across Europe

A top EU official hinted that legislation to cut plastic waste in Europe is coming soon.

Frans Timmermans, the first vice president of the European Commission, made the comment after Britain's environment minister Michael Gove, a pro-Brexiter, suggested that staying in the EU would make it harder for the UK to create environmental laws such as banning plastic drinking straws.

Keep reading... Show less
Flare from gas well. Ken Doerr / Flickr

Court Orders Trump Administration to Enforce Obama-Era Methane Rule

A federal judge reinstated a widely supported methane waste rule that President Trump's administration has repeatedly tried to stop.

Judge William Orrick of the U.S. District Court for Northern California ruled Thursday that Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) decision to suspend core provisions of the 2016 Methane and Waste Prevention Rule was "untethered to evidence."

Keep reading... Show less
On Jan. 24, 2017 President Donald Trump signed a memorandum to expedite the Keystone XL permitting process. Twitter | Donald Trump

Inside the Trump Admin's Fight to Keep the Keystone XL Approval Process Secret

By Steve Horn

At a Feb. 21 hearing, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that the Trump administration must either fork over documents showing how the U.S. Department of State reversed an earlier decision and ultimately came to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, or else provide a substantial legal reason for continuing to withhold them. The federal government has an order to deliver the goods, one way or the other, by March 21.

Keep reading... Show less
Health

New Black Lung Epidemic Emerging in Coal Country

In a study released this month by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), federal researchers identified more than 400 cases of complicated black lung in three clinics in southwestern Virginia between 2013 and 2017—the largest cluster ever reported.

However, the actual number of cases is likely much, much higher as the government analysis relied on self-reporting. An ongoing investigation from NPR has counted nearly 2,000 cases diagnosed since 2010 across Appalachia.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Dennis Schroeder / NREL

The Facts About Trump’s Solar Tariffs – Who Gets Hurt? Who Gets Helped?

By John Rogers

The solar-related shoe we've been expecting has finally dropped: President Trump recently announced new taxes on imported solar cells and modules. There's plenty of downside to his decision, in terms of solar progress, momentum and jobs. But will it revive U.S. manufacturing?

Keep reading... Show less

Japan Confirms Oil From the Sanchi Is Washing Up On Its Beaches

By Andy Rowell

The Japanese Coast Guard has confirmed that the oil that is being washed up on islands in the south of the country is "highly likely" to have come from the stricken Iranian tanker, the Sanchi.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Dave Keeling

Is Constant Human Noise Stressing Out Wildlife?

By Jason Daley

A major study earlier this year showed something incredible. Looking at 492 protected areas in the U.S., researchers found that 62 percent of the parks, wilderness areas and green spaces were twice as loud as they should be. About 21 percent were 10 times as loud. Noise isn't just annoying—chronic exposure to traffic, generators and airplanes can lead to negative consequences for wildlife. Researchers like Nathan Kliest are just getting a handle on exactly how all that noise impacts animals. Kliest, formerly of the University of Colorado Boulder and now at SUNY Brockport, recently investigated the impact of chronic noise on birds in the Southwest.

Keep reading... Show less
GMO
Activists campaigning to regulate glyphosate in the European Union. Avaaz / Flickr

Monsanto 'Commands' Civic Group to Turn in All Communications Over Glyphosate

Avaaz, a civic campaigning network that counts roughly 45 million subscribers around the world, has been served with a 168-page subpoena on behalf of agribusiness giant Monsanto.

The document, dated Jan. 26 and sent from New York Supreme Court, "commands" the U.S.-based organization to turn in a decade's worth of internal communications by Friday, Feb. 23.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!