Survey reveals impacts of climate misinformation

Significant proportions of the population believe climate disinformation and myths, according to a new report calling for a crackdown on misinformation.

Climate Action Against Disinformation (CAAD) and the Conscious Advertising Network (CAN) discovered that between 55% and 85% of populations surveyed believe at least one climate misinformation statement. India was the most likely to believe disinformation, while the UK was the least.

Populations in Australia, Brazil, Germany, India, the UK and America were surveyed in the first report to show how widespread climate misinformation is and how it influences public opinion.

Worryingly, between 6 and 23% of respondents don’t believe the climate crisis is real or are uncertain about whether it is happening. 22 to 38% believe humans are only partly responsible for the climate crisis, with those in the US most likely to think this.

people holding signs

The survey has also revealed the dangerous effect of misinformation about fossil gas, as 34% of Australians, 40% of Brazilians, 25% of Germans, 57% of Indians and 39% of Americans believe it is a climate friendly energy source. But only 14% of Brits agree.

CAAD and CAN argue that anti-climate communications weaken public demand for climate mitigation and adaptation, showing the urgent need to combat disinformation tactics.

For example, 32% of Brits believe oil and gas is essential to the economy and it would be impossible for us to live without them.

This belief is held as the British government has awarded 100 new licences to North Sea oil and gas projects. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said no new oil and gas projects can take place if temperature rises are to be limited to 1.5°C.

The report also investigated how the media contributes to climate misinformation and found participants who consumed news five days or more per week were more likely to believe misinformation statements.

CAAD and CAN released an open letter alongside the study, calling for global action against climate misinformation at COP27. Signatories include prominent figures such as Christina Figueres and Laurence Tubiana, as well as industry leaders and brands like Patagonia, Sky and WWF.

Photo by Callum Shaw


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