Relationships among conspiratorial beliefs, conservatism and climate scepticism across nations



Studies showing that scepticism about anthropogenic climate change is shaped, in part, by conspiratorial and conservative ideologies are based on data primarily collected in the United States. Thus, it may be that the ideological nature of climate change beliefs reflects something distinctive about the United States rather than being an international phenomenon. Here we find that positive correlations between climate scepticism and indices of ideology were stronger and more consistent in the United States than in the other 24 nations tested. This suggests that there is a political culture in the United States that offers particularly strong encouragement for citizens to appraise climate science through the lens of their worldviews. Furthermore, the weak relationships between ideology and climate scepticism in the majority of nations suggest that there is little inherent to conspiratorial ideation or conservative ideologies that predisposes people to reject climate science, a finding that has encouraging implications for climate mitigation efforts globally.

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The work reported in the current paper was supported by funding from the Australian Research Council (DP120100961).

Author information


  1. School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

    • Matthew J. Hornsey
    •  & Emily A. Harris
  2. School of Communication & Arts, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

    • Kelly S. Fielding


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M.J.H. and K.S.F. developed the study concept and design. E.A.H. led the process of conducting translations and collecting the data. E.A.H. also led the analysing and writing up of the results. M.J.H. drafted the manuscript, and all authors contributed to revisions.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Matthew J. Hornsey.

Supplementary information

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