ACSPRI Conferences, ACSPRI Social Science Methodology Conference 2018

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Climate scepticism in Australia

Bruce Tranter

Building: Holme Building
Room: Cullen Room
Date: 2018-12-13 03:30 PM – 05:00 PM
Last modified: 2018-11-20


The overwhelming majority of expert climate scientists agree that climate change is occurring and that humans are the main cause. However, AuSSA 2014 results show that one third of Australian adults believe there is little agreement among scientists on climate change. Around 61 per cent of Australians believe climate change is anthropogenic, and only 4 per cent reject it outright (hard sceptics), yet a further 29 per cent claim that climate change has mainly ‘natural’ causes.

Similar to US citizens, Australians’ attitudes on climate change are deeply divided by their political allegiances, with Coalition identifiers far less accepting of anthropogenic climate change than Greens or Labor partisans. The politically un-aligned are closer to conservatives on this issue, and the un-aligned comprise around 36 per cent of all Australians.

The un-aligned are younger than average, located near the centre ideologically, and have lower knowledge of climate change than partisans. In the absence of bipartisanship on climate change policy in Australia, shifting the attitudes of the politically un-aligned – perhaps through the provision of relevant climate change information – may prove the most fruitful way of harnessing additional support for political action on climate change.