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News Link • Climate Change

Are climate skeptics more likely to be conspiracy theorists?

• Nicholas Watt, The Guardian

It’s time to come clean: climate change is a hoax. And the moon landings were faked, 9/11 was an inside job, and the CIA is hiding the identity of the gunman on the grassy knoll.

It might seem odd to lump climate change – a scientific theory supported by thousands of peer-reviewed papers and hundreds of independent lines of evidence – with conspiracy theories like these. But new research to be published in a forthcoming issue of Psychological Science has found a link between the endorsement of conspiracy theories and the rejection of established facts about climate science.

In a survey of more than 1,000 readers of websites related to climate change, people who agreed with free market economic principles and endorsed conspiracy theories were more likely to dispute that human-caused climate change was a reality.

Stephen Lewandowsky and his colleagues at the University of Western Australia posted a link to an online questionnaire on eight climate-related blogs with a diverse readership, in order to capture people’s views about economics, science and conspiracy theories. Five “sceptic” (or “sceptic-leaning”) blogs were also approached but declined to post the link – interesting in and of itself, given the frequent claim that sceptical views are excluded from mainstream debates.

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