The Science of Climate Change Denial

For anyone fighting to conserve the health and prosperity of our planet, it's worthwhile trying to understand those on the other side of the debate: climate change doubters.

While there are various theories about what it is that causes individuals, often whom are well-educated and articulate, to ignore the growing consensus among climate scientists as the to the firm evidence behind global warming.

Watch this next: How climate change deniers sound to everyone else

Nature Climate Change has recently looked at a broad range of studies undertaken into climate change beliefs with the goal of finding common traits among doubters.

According to The Washington Post, "The analysis included nearly 200 previous polls and studies conducted in 57 countries around the world" and "examined the influence of a variety of different variables, including demographic characteristics like age, sex and education…overall level of concern about the environment, and…what sorts of concrete environmental policies people support."

Researchers for the journal have concluded that of all the personal characteristics examined by scientists to date, the most significant factors for an individual's perspective on climate change are "political affiliations, worldviews and values."

This might seem obvious, but these findings provide strong evidence that can now be used by environmentalists to tailor the way in which they try to communicate to doubters.

Yet another finding of the study was that knowledge (and acceptance) of the reality of climate change does not necessarily translate into actions to help address it. Put simple, it isn't enough to be aware of the issues: you have to be willing to DO something about them as well!

Interestingly, the study debunked the popular stereotype that climate change denial is as simple as lack of education. What the researchers found was that a person's political ideologies had far greater influence than their level of study (which is why it was possible to have a national leader with multiple university degrees, yet a determination to deny the reality of climate change.)

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“This suggests that acceptance of climate change is more aligned to specific identification with political parties than to underlying political ideologies”
- Nature Climate Change

So, what can those aware of the issues of climate change do when confronted by doubters? Check out some of the links below for some tools on how to communicate to those on the other side of the fence:

[Watch] John Oliver's hilarious take on climate change denial

Climate Denial 101: how to completely take down climate change deniers

Climate sceptics should now be referred to as "climate change doubters"

Images: Shutterstock

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Steph Newman Former Social Media Assistant Suggest an article Send us an email

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