International polling reveled a fact that a significant number of Americans do not believe human-driven climate change making the US a hotbed of climate science denial .
A total of 13% of Americans polled in a 23-country survey conducted by the YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project agreed with the statement that the climate is changing “but human activity is not responsible at all”. A further 5% said the climate was not changing.
Only Saudi Arabia (16%) and Indonesia (18%) had a higher proportion of people doubtful of manmade climate change.
Americans were also more likely than any other western country polled to say they did not know whether the climate was changing or people were responsible – a total of 13% said this.
But despite these views, the great majority of US citizens do accept the science of climate change, with nearly four in 10 saying human activity was at least partly responsible, potentially with other factors, and a further third taking the stronger view that human activity is the dominant cause.
Scientists overwhelmingly agree that people are causing climate change through the exponential increase of greenhouse gas emissions over the years. Global emissions are still rising, and the last four years have been the hottest since records began.
But wider denial of climate science is down to a concerted campaign of misinformation by fossil fuel interests and aspects of American character, according to Margaret Klein Salamon, a clinical psychologist who founded the advocacy group Climate Mobilization.
“The Koch brothers and the fossil fuel industry have put billions of dollars into lying to the American public, even sending literature to science teachers in schools,” Salamon said. “They are so well organised and have managed to turn climate change into a controversial subject that gets shut down. It’s clearly working.Advertisement
“There is also the issue of American individualism, remnants of manifest destiny, that don’t set us up well for understanding that we are part of the web of life. The American dream is quite self-involved. We need a new American dream.”
Americans also appear unusually prone to climate-related conspiracy theories, the YouGov data suggests. A total of 17% of those polled agreed that “the idea of manmade global warming is a hoax that was invented to deceive people”.
This conspiracy theory, heated by Donald Trump, who falsely claimed climate change was made up by China, becomes more popular with age and also conservative political ideology. Those 52% of Americans, describing themselves as “very rightwing” to YouGov, insisted on a fact that global warming was a hoax.