Climate Scepticism in Cross-National Perspective

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 14:30
Location: Hörsaal BIG 2 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Bruce TRANTER, University of Tasmania, Australia
Jed DONOGHUE, University of Tasmania, Australia
ISSP data show that Australia has perhaps the most sceptical citizens of all advanced industrialised countries regarding climate change.  The majority of Australians believe that climate change is occurring, that its causes are mostly anthropogenic, and that most scientists agree it is caused mainly by humans.  Yet social background and deep political divisions underpin attitudes toward climate change in Australia, as do cosmopolitan worldviews, and information sources.  A recent national survey shows that only four per cent of Australians disagree that any form of climate change is occurring, although close to one third maintain that although it is happening, climate change has ‘natural’ causes.  Action on climate change is hindered greatly by the contrary views of coalition political party identifiers.  In contrast to supporters of the Greens or Labor, politically conservative Australians are far more likely to believe climate change has non-anthropogenic causes, that most scientists do not agree about its causes, and that it will not threaten their way of life.  Yet even a majority of coalition identifiers believe that climate change is a serious threat to the next generation.  Women, cosmopolitans, consumers of public broadcast news and those who consider themselves to be knowledgeable about climate change are more likely to agree that anthropogenic climate change is ‘real’.