George Marshall explored the latest research explaining how climate change has become so challenging for conservatives, and why this should be so marked in the English-speaking world.
It is a question that goes to the heart of the wider psychological reasons why people find it so hard to accept this issue, and the ways that people construct narratives of threat and opportunity around their worldviews.
Across the Anglophone countries, research into public attitudes on climate change consistently show one common feature: that people with conservative politics are far more likely to play down, disattend, or openly deny climate change than people with left-wing politics.
Even more worrisome, in the USA and Australia a rejection of climate science has become a key identifier of right-wing political culture, to the extent that in some US surveys a denial of climate change is a stronger indicator of people’s politics than support for the death penalty or opposition to gun control and abortion.
What is also interesting is that this political polarisation is not found across all cultures. In Germany and Japan for example there is no measurable political influence on attitudes towards climate change.
George Marshall and the organisation he founded, Climate Outreach are internationally recognised specialists in this field, and in his presentation George drew on their two reports on this theme, and research in Wales, England, Australia, and among members of the European Parliament. Resources they have developed are on their website. George is the author of the widely acclaimed new book, Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired To Ignore Climate Change
Rosemary Randall is a psychotherapist and is on the steering committee of the CPA. She is co-founder of the Carbon Conversations project and co-author (with Andy Brown) of In Time for Tomorrow? the Carbon Conversations Handbook