Brexit Voters Almost Twice as Likely to Disbelieve in Climate Change

Adam Vaughan, Thursday 16 June 2016.

Brexit voters almost twice as likely to disbelieve in manmade climate change.


British people backing a leave vote in the EU referendum are almost twice as likely to believe that climate change does not have a human cause, according to a new poll.

Brexiters are more likely to think the media exaggerates how settled climate science is; distrust scientists; have sympathy with creationism; oppose onshore windfarms and support fracking.

The findings come in a ComRes poll of 1,618 people evenly split between those intending to vote out and in.

Many prominent leave campaigners are either openly opposed to action on climate change or have cast doubt on man’s role in it, including former chancellor Nigel Lawson, former environment secretary Owen Paterson and columnist Matthew Ridley.

Boris Johnson once penned a column suggesting snow on his windowsill means we should consider believing climate sceptics over governments and leading scientists across the world, but has not openly denied manmade climate change.

In the ComRes poll published on Thursday, 18% of leave voters and 10% of remain votes disagreed with the statement: “human activity is causing climate change.” Some 3% of leave voters said they didn’t know, versus 1% of remain voters.

The world’s top authority on climate science, the UN’s IPCC, says it is 95% certain that humans are responsible for global warming in recent decades.

Among leave voters, 68% agreed that “the media exaggerates the level of scientific agreement there is on human activity causing climate change”, compared to 52% of remain voters. But several studies have shown around 97% of climate scientists agree climate change is manmade.

The polling also found 44% of leavers thought scientists had too much influence on British politics against 25% of remainers, and 46% of leavers agreed that people who question the theory of evolution “have a point” compared to 36% of remainers.

On energy, leave voters were more likely to oppose onshore windfarms in rural areas (36% versus 21% of remain voters), and more likely to support increasing the use of fracking to extract shale gas (40% versus for 35%).

“It’s disheartening to see that so many people still refuse to acknowledge clear scientific knowledge, thereby undercutting the efforts of Britain’s world-leading scientists,” said Assaad Razzouk, CEO of cleantech firm Sindicatum Sustainable Resources, who commissioned the poll.

“Climate change denialism and anti-evolutionism are obvious hindrances to productive discussions about the future of Britain, Europe and indeed the world.”

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