It’s not necessarily a competition you should be particularly keen to win, but which country in the world has the most climate change “sceptics”?
Most people would probably hazard a guess at the United States, what with its preponderance of climate science denialist think tanks, conservative television and radio hosts and politicians who think it’s all a hoax.
But a new study that analysed identical surveys carried out across 14 industrialised nations has found that when it comes to climate science denial, Australia tops the pile.
Published in the journal Global Environmental Change, the study found that 17 per cent of Australians were “climate sceptics”.
Norwegians come in second at 15 per cent, followed by New Zealanders at 13 per cent and then Americans at 12 per cent. The UK was ranked joint fifth, together with Sweden and Finland, where 10 per cent of people were sceptics. The lowest ranked country for climate scepticism was Spain, where only two per cent of people were classified as climate sceptics. The authors wrote:
Climate scepticism persists despite overwhelming scientific evidence that anthropogenic climate change is occurring.
The study, authored by two scientists at the University of Tasmania, used data from surveys carried out in 14 countries in 2010 and 2011.
While the survey did not directly ask people if they accepted the science linking climate change to human activities, the respondents were asked how dangerous rising temperatures would be for the environment.