Americans are World's Top Climate Change Deniers; Chinese, the Top Believers

By | Jul 23, 2014 09:33 PM EDT
Air pollution caused by fossil fuels

A recent survey by Ipsos MORI, the second largest market research firm in the UK, confirms that climate denial is an ingrained belief in the U.S.

The firm's first ever Global Trends Survey revealed that Americans were dead last in two key questions relating directly to a belief in man-made climate change being blamed for much of the "crazy climate" besetting the world today.

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The survey involved 20 major countries and covered a broad range of issues such as the environment and technology.

It showed that just 54% of Americans agreed with the statement, "The climate change we are currently seeing is largely the result of human activity."

China topped the list of nations that believe in this statement, and 93 percent of Chinese respondents said so. Next to China among believers were Argentina, Italy, Spain, Turkey, India, Brazil, Belgium, South Korea and South Africa.

About three in four persons in the top 10 countries agreed with this statement.

In France, 80 percent of respondents agreed, as did 79 percent in Brazil; 77 percent in South Korea; 72 percent in Germany and 64 percent in Great Britain.

The four next worst climate change deniers behind the U.S. are Great Britain, Australia, Russia and Poland.

The U.S. was also dead last when it came to supporting the statement, "We are heading for environmental disaster unless we change our habits quickly."

Only 57 percent of Americans thought so compared to 91 percent of the Chinese, who believed in the statement the most.

The other nine top nations that agreed with this statement were Italy, Argentina, Turkey, South Africa, India, Brazil, South Korea, Germany and France.

Among advanced nations like the U.S., 74.7 percent of respondents in France agreed, as did 78.4 percent of those in Brazil; 77.2 percent in South Korea and 58.8 percent in Great Britain.

The four worst deniers of a looming environmental disaster behind the U.S. are Japan, Great Britain, Poland and Australia.

Ipsos MORI cautioned, however, that for developing countries like India and China, the results should be viewed as "representative of a more affluent and 'connected' population."

It did say that another reason why environmental concern is very high in China is due to the country's persistent problem of environmental pollution, especially air pollution in urban centers such as Beijing.

Climate denialism in the U.S. is mainly a well-funded phenomenon prevalent among white American conservatives, especially those in the American Heartland's red or Republican states.

News reports say the U.S. climate change counter movement consists of over 90 organizations, with a total annual funding estimated at US$900 million.

From the Ipsos MORI data, it does seem that climate denialism is at its strongest among English-speaking nations.

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