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What Do Climate Change Deniers Have in Common? They Speak English

What Do Climate Change Deniers Have in Common? They Speak English

While in the United States, registered voters are 2.5 times more likely to vote for a candidate who supports action on reducing global warming, there’s no denying that there’s still a significant group of climate change deniers.

The question is, with all the science evidence to show that climate change is happening, and happening rapidly, and even a campaign by Barack Obama to call out the climate change deniers, people continue to believe that climate change is not a result of human activity. The question is: why?

Chris Mooney at Mother Jones took a look at some recent findings from the market research firm Ipsos MORI and found an interesting correlation between the top countries with climate change deniers: they’re English-speaking countries. The top three countries on the list were the United States, Great Britain and Australia. Canada comes in at seventh place.

Does that mean climate change denial is an anglophone problem?

Mooney notes that in these four countries, the political ideology of neoliberalism is present, and that neoliberal regimes have spread the most active climate change denial. For example, according to a study by Yale, in the United States, 88% of Democrats, 59% of Independents and 61% of liberal/moderate Republicans think global warming is happening, compared to only 28% of conservative Republicans.

Within these four countries, there’s another thing that ties them together: a media monopoly in the form of Rupert Murdoch.

“Indeed, the English language media in three of these four countries are linked together by a single individual: Rupert Murdoch. An apparent climate skeptic or lukewarmer, Murdoch is the chairman of News Corp and 21st Century Fox. (You can watch him express his climate views here.) Some of the media outlets subsumed by the two conglomerates that he heads are responsible for quite a lot of English language climate skepticism and denial.”

According to Mooney, just watching Fox News can increase distrust of climate scientists.

This doesn’t mean that speaking English will put you on a straight path to climate denial, but it’s a reminder of how powerful the English language, and its media, really is. “[W]hile there may not be anything inherent to the English language that impels climate denial, the fact that English language media are such a major source of that denial may in effect create a language barrier,” writes Mooney.

There are other factors that could be making for the Anglophone/climate change denial link, like our higher concentration of climate skeptic think tanks. We also experience the effects of climate change much differently than in other parts of the world, where the effects are currently more acute.

Are English speakers destined to be climate change skeptics? No, but there’s obviously something going on that’s keeping us from accepting climate science.

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Photo Credit: Nicola Jones

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146 comments

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2:52PM PDT on Jul 31, 2014

Joseph G.,
I hope you are not joining the contingent that calls anyone not abiding by their particular political beliefs "liars" and such. They tend tj bring his entire discussion down into the gutters. We scientists prefer not to get dragged down into such barroom shouting matches. If the scientific data does not support it, then it should not be considered relevant. Politicians, activists, and bureaucrats on either extreme tend to ignore the science, in favor of their own particular agenda.

2:26PM PDT on Jul 31, 2014

Dan B. i see you are back to your usual lies and spins.. Pathetic.

1:21PM PDT on Jul 31, 2014

Joseph G.,
All snide remarks aside, I am not a denier. I am not an alarmist either. I prefer to discount both political views, and stick with the science. Ask yourself to which of those three groups you belong.

12:39PM PDT on Jul 31, 2014

Dan B~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Long lines for loons, Go back on your meds,

Then ask yourself why you are in denial.

6:15AM PDT on Jul 31, 2014

Joseph G.,
Why do you want to exonerate the Energy Industry? I would have no interest in doing so anyway. This is your first such request.

9:26PM PDT on Jul 30, 2014

DAN B~~~~~~~~~~

I have asked you a number of timed to provide "PEER REVIEWED" studies that exonerate the Energy industries. You have failed

8:39PM PDT on Jul 30, 2014

I'll tell you whats going on! Megacorps are land grabbing, clearing, destoying wildlife, polluting the land, air & water all because why? Halliburton. Big OIl is exempt from the clean air & water acts!!!! So they get away with polluting then blame everyday citizens because we might need oil & gas to run our cars. It's about MUCH more than that! These megacorps do not have ANYONE to answer to, so they kill animals (see petition about the state wanting to kill off a bird that eats salmon!) they maim, they pollute, they promote nuclear reactors that pollute the environment, they claim rights to human, plant & animal DNA, they create GMO food that God knows what it is doing to whomever eats it, they create food shortages for humans & animals, they have oil leakage disasters that don't get properly cleaned up if at all, they make pesticides that harm insects & animals. Oh... so I am the one in denial? I think you are! Either that or you are in bed with the scientists & megacorps blaming us for the crap they are doing to the earth!!!

10:36AM PDT on Jul 30, 2014

Joseph G. Actually, DAn B., Is argues against any real science. He would rather lie, spin, obfuscate, project, and play pigeon chess than to be honest. He is one of the biggest antiscience trolls here. He has shown me and others that he is not even willing to intellectually honest.

He and his fellow travelers seem to have a vested interest. In keeping the discussion away from how we as a people can address global warming/climate change. In a rational and mature way. Which is why I wont debate established science. The debate is over. It is now time to address how to stop or at least slow this down.

10:31AM PDT on Jul 30, 2014

Joseph G.,
I am a member of the UCS also, althought not of WWF. Do you not agree that they are political or activistic organizations? They do not publish a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Their pamphlets are not peer-reviewed, but rather opinions. That does not mean that they all contain scientific errors, although the WWF pamphlet about the Himalayas melting by 2035 received quite a bit of notoriety.

http://blogs.nature.com/climatefeedback/2010/01/ipcc_apologises_for_himalayan.html

UCS is known for distorting the scientific opinion.

https://www.activistfacts.com/organizations/145-union-of-concerned-scientists/

9:43AM PDT on Jul 30, 2014

DAN--BTW

I am still awaiting your "evidence"

"Simon T.,
You seem to be confusing the peer-reviewed scientific literature with political publications. Physicists, meteoroligists, atmospheric scientists, etc. belong to the former, while the WWF, IPCC, and UCS belong to the latter. You can refer to the peer-reviewed literature as pseudo-scientific comics, if you like, but it will be difficult to convince others that political activist pamphlets trumps scientific research.

As a member of both WWF and UCS, PLEASE enlighten me as to their scientific errors.

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