Climate denial is a form of American exceptionalism

Climate denial is a form of American exceptionalism

Brian Kahn writes:

America is already great, my friends, at least when it comes to climate denial.

New research published this week in Nature Climate Change shows the U.S. is without peers when it comes to denying the basic science of climate change. Scientists surveyed people in 25 countries around the world, and found there’s no country quite like the U.S, where climate denial is much more closely tied to one’s political persuasion than any other country.

The researchers say this is actually a good thing, because it means there’s nothing inherent in conservative ideology that causes people to reject science, or that stands in opposition to making efforts to reduce emissions.

Previous research in the U.S. has shown how climate denial tends to be strongest among people who are conservative and fall into the “hierarchal individualist” ideological category, which is essentially your Gadsden flag-loving types. The thinking is that their preference for traditional power structures and individual freedom colors their acceptance of climate science. Basically, it’s easier to question climate science than accept its conclusions, because to accept the science would mean acknowledging the need for top-down actions to preserve the communal resource of our planet.

In an effort to determine if this pattern holds in other countries around the globe, scientists from the University of Queensland in Australia sent a survey to 5,325 online participants in both developed and developing countries. Questions probed their ideologies, political beliefs, and belief in conspiracy theories. The survey then asked participants about their perspectives on climate science.

The results show that while there are climate deniers in other countries, the U.S. is truly special. [Continue reading…]

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