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Climate change belief not split along political divide

As the sun beams down on southeast Queensland’s vast, sprawling terrain, the team of researchers from QUT have discovered something remarkable – the climate change beliefs of people in the peri-urban region is not dependent on political orientation. In fact, the survey revealed that 64% of the study’s climate change believing participants were made up of those who lean right and left politically.

On the other side of the climate change debate, the researchers found that those who rejected the notion of climate change were overwhelmingly right-wing in their political views. In addition, they were mostly older, and generally less educated.

A recent study conducted by researchers from QUT has found that climate change belief is not uniform in relation to political orientation.

Professor Tan Yigitcanlar from QUT’s School of Architecture and Built Environment and City 4.0 Lab and his former doctoral student Dr Md Golam Mortoja, who now works for the Queensland Government’s Department of Resources, conducted a survey in southeast Queensland and found that 64% of climate change believers are made up of both right and left-wingers.

Supplied: QUT

The survey deepened their knowledge on climate change deniers and their perspective – they are predominantly right-wing political views, older and relatively less educated.

On the other hand, more highly educated and younger people tend to be climate change believers, although this group was found to be largely unaware of self-motivated behavior change as a climate change mitigation technique.

The survey also found that climate change deniers’ views do not generally moderate or change with exposure to climate risk events. The results also showed that no significant gender differences were found in climate change perception and that younger, highly educated people tend to be climate change believers.

The researchers concluded that their findings provide valuable insights to overcome the knowledge gaps between climate change believers and deniers and inform decision-makers in taking adequate measures to address climate risks and develop appropriate land use decisions.

The results of the survey have been published in the Land Use Policy journal and will provide guidance for decision makers hoping to implement adequate measures to address climate risks and develop appropriate land use decisions.

Dr Mortoja said it is assumable that concerns about climate change should be dependent upon the level of knowledge someone possesses on the issues that trigger climate risk impacts.

“Thus, a plethora of studies have investigated public perceptions on the climate risk issue,” Dr Mortoja said.

“Against this backdrop, this paper aims to identify distinct groups of respondents based on their level of knowledge concerning climate risk against their political orientation. This in return helps in understanding political bias in forming a climate change belief.”

“The findings generated from this study provide valuable insights to overcome the knowledge gaps between climate risk believers and deniers,” Dr Mortoja said.

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