Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

American respondents were behind just two countries in their responses to a survey asking if they believed human activity has contributed to the climate crisis, with 13 percent saying they believe humans have nothing to do with the changing climate. (Photo: Jack Sem,

US Public Among the Most Likely in the World to Deny Climate Crisis, Global Survey Shows

"The Koch brothers and the fossil fuel industry have put billions of dollars into lying to the American public...It's clearly working."

Julia Conley

Two days after the Trump administration blocked a global declaration from even mentioning the term "climate change," a new survey out Wednesday shows the U.S. public continues to lead internationally when it comes to denying the scientific reality of the planetary crisis.

As The Guardian reported, a YouGov/Cambridge Globalism Project poll of 23 countries found that 13 percent of American respondents agreed with the statement, "human activity is not responsible at all” for the climate crisis.

The U.S. was behind just two countries in the poll, with 18 percent of Indonesians and 16 percent of Saudis saying human activity has nothing to do with the fact that average global temperatures have risen by 0.8° Celsius (1.4° Fahrenheit) since 1880.

Respondents in other Western countries, including almost every European country, were far less likely than Americans to deny that the climate is changing and that humans are responsible. Fewer than 10 percent in most countries across Europe denied the statements.

Seventeen percent of Americans polled told YouGov/Cambridge Globalism Project that they believed the concept of a human-caused climate crisis is "a hoax that was invented to deceive people."

Such beliefs have been pushed by President Donald Trump, who claimed in 2012 that the concept of the climate crisis was created by the Chinese and said during the 2016 presidential campaign that the idea was a "hoax" which had created a "money-making industry."

On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demonstrated the climate science denial embraced by the Trump administration when he blocked language about the climate crisis from a resolution passed by the seven countries in the Arctic Council.

However, climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe pointed out on social media that the U.S. has been forced to confront reality in recent years as the solar power sector has added far more jobs than fossil fuel industries.

The other countries where respondents were most likely to deny the effects of fossil fuel extraction have also had to face the reality of the climate crisis, Hayhoe said.

"What used to be entirely natural disasters, many of which including hurricanes, heavy rain and wildfire are now increasingly being super-sized or amplified by a changing climate, are costing the U.S. billions a year in damages," Hayhoe added.

While even climate science-denying governments are beginning to confront the crisis through policy, one climate campaigner told The Guardian, fossil fuel companies and the powerful lobbyists that represent them have managed to keep many Americans unwilling to accept the reality of climate change.

"The Koch brothers and the fossil fuel industry have put billions of dollars into lying to the American public, even sending literature to science teachers in schools," Margaret Klein Salamon of the advocacy group Climate Mobilization told The Guardian. "They are so well organized and have managed to turn climate change into a controversial subject that gets shut down. It's clearly working."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Entirely Reckless': Critics Blast EU Plan to Boost Gas Infrastructure

"Deepening its own dependence on volatile fossil fuels" in response to Russia's attack on Ukraine, said one campaigner, "is the last thing Europe should be doing."

Jessica Corbett ·

Sanders Applauds Denton, Texas for Passing 100th Local Resolution Backing Medicare for All

"The way we will pass Medicare for All," said Sen. Bernie Sanders, "is by continuing to build a strong grassroots movement that is prepared to take on the big money interests."

Jake Johnson ·

US Military Clears Itself of Blame in Syria Strike That Killed 'Piles' of Women and Children

"It's the standard government line: Mistakes were made but there was no wrongdoing. But if the same mistakes were being made over and over again for years, shouldn't someone have done something about it?"

Brett Wilkins ·

House Progressives Urge Executive Action From Biden on Baby Formula 'Emergency'

"We have an infant hunger crisis looming," said Rep. Ayanna Pressley, "and a whole of government response is required."

Kenny Stancil ·

Plan to Discharge Fukushima Water Into Pacific Gets OK From Regulators

The discharge could release a number of radioactive isotopes into the Pacific Ocean, critics say.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo