Keeping pace in the global climate denial stakes

Twenty-five per cent of the Australian population doesn't believe in man-made climate change, one of the highest levels for developed nations but still behind the US.

Climate Progress

A poll of 20 countries and over 16,000 people has found that the United States leads the world when it comes to climate denial. That result is based on two questions asked by the British survey company Ipsos Mori in its first ever Global Trends Survey. The poll, conducted between September and October last year, analysed views from around the world on a variety of issues, including science and technology, privacy, the environment, health, and government.

The poll found that 52 per cent of Americans agreed with the statement “The climate change we are currently seeing is a natural phenomenon that happens from time to time.” India was tied with the US in this belief, and China came in a close second, with 51 per cent of respondents agreeing. In contrast, only 34 per cent of Swedes, 26 per cent of South Koreans, and 22 per cent of Japanese agreed with the statement.

The United States also came in first for disagreement with the statement “The climate change we are currently seeing is largely the result of human activity.” In the US 32 per cent of people disagreed with this. In Australia, which just repealed its carbon tax, 25 per cent of people said they didn’t believe in man-made climate change, 42 per cent disagreed and 11 per cent were unsure.

Graph for Keeping pace in the global climate denial stakes

In contrast, in France, Italy, Turkey, Spain and Argentina, 80 per cent or more of the population believe that human activity is driving climate change.

When asked if we are headed for environmental disaster unless we change our habits quickly, just 57 per cent of Americans said yes, while 91 per cent of Chinese said yes.

The 20 countries included in the poll were Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Great Britain, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the United States.

The results are in line with previous numbers from the Pew Research Center which show that just 40 per cent of Americans think climate change is a serious threat to their country, while more than 60 per cent of Spaniards and Italians and more than 70 per cent of Japanese said they think it is a serious threat.

Earlier this month, the US-based Heartland Institute held its 9th International Conference on Climate Change, proudly advertising it as the “biggest gathering of global warming sceptics in the world.” The conference took place in Las Vegas as the thirsty region suffers through the driest 14-year period on record, and Lake Mead, which supplies the city with 90 per cent of its water, hit its lowest level yet. Some sessions at the conference included “How Reliable Are Temperature Records” and “Combating Climate Myths With Science and Facts.”

Originally published by Climate Progress. Reproduced with permission