People Who Live Inland more Likely to Deny Climate Change…and so are People Exposed to Media Owned by Rupert Murdoch

Friday, July 25, 2014
Rupert Murdoch (graphic: The Blot magazine)

Where one lives, at the beach versus somewhere inland, can affect a person’s acceptance that climate change is happening.


Researchers in New Zealand found that people near the coast were more likely to believe in global warming and its effects on the planet than those living in other areas. After surveying more than 5,800 New Zealanders, the experts determined that many people view climate change as something “too uncertain, and likely to happen in distant places and times, to people unlike oneself.”


“Related to this perceived psychological distance of climate change, studies have shown that direct experience of the effects of climate change increases climate change concern,” they wrote in their paper, published in the academic journal PLoS One.


Individuals living along a coastline were likely to experience or note rises in sea levels, a major consequence of climate change, thus bringing home to them the real impact of this global phenomenon. “The results indicate that physical place plays a role in the psychological acceptance of climate change, perhaps because the effects of climate change become more concrete and local,” the researchers said.


The study took into account respondents’ wealth and political orientation.


Another study revealed another kind of divide among the believers and non-believers of climate change: the English language.


The market research firm Ipsos MORI said in its “Global Trends 2014” report that the three countries with the most climate-change deniers were the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, all English-speaking nations. A fourth, Canada, was seventh.

Riley Dunlap, a sociologist at Oklahoma State University who has studied the climate denial movement, wasn’t surprised by the findings considering the three countries feature strong conservative movements (referred to as neo-liberalism for their embrace of free markets and less government).


“It’s the countries where neo-liberalism is most hegemonic and with strong neo-liberal regimes (both in power and lurking on the sidelines to retake power) that have bred the most active denial campaigns—U.S., U.K., Australia and now Canada,” Dunlap told the Guardian. “And the messages employed by these campaigns filter via the media and political elites to the public, especially the ideologically receptive portions.”


The Guardian points out that there’s another common thread to those four countries: All have some of their media controlled by Rupert Murdoch. His properties, particularly those in the United States and Australia (Fox News is also available in Canada), exhibit skepticism toward the facts of climate change.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Proximity to Coast Is Linked to Climate Change Belief (by Taciano L. Milfont, Laurel Evans, Chris G. Sibley, Jan Ries and Andrew Cunningham, PLoS One)

The Strange Relationship between Global Warming Denial and... Speaking English (by Chris Mooney, The Guardian)

Climate Change Has Arrived, but Americans May be the Least Likely in the World to Believe It (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


anonamouse 9 years ago
Note the quasi-religious tone of this article: there are "believers" and "non-believers." Big Science has replaced Big Religion as the referent for acceptable belief. "Non-believers" are apostates to rationality. Yet, students of the history of science know there is no such thing as "settled" science, models are only approximations of reality, and a scientific "consensus" never lasts forever. Climate Change (TM) is a belief system for the faithful multitude who still think like 19th century determinists, grounded in Newtonian physics. But Newton's physics were shown to be inadequate 100 years ago. Hello? .... I suggest that it's not Murdoch's English-language neofascist publishing empire that's responsible for the concentration of skeptics in English-language countries (the Nazis after all were early environmentalists); it's the widely read English-language climate blog "What's Up With That" run by Anthony Watt, which has for years challenged the "consensus" on man-made warming by providing a forum for qualified climate scientists to voice their skepticism.

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