Do beliefs about climate change depend on how old you are, your education level or “groupthink”?

I will never forget a discussion I had over ten years ago with a woman in her eighties at the Senior Center in Fort Collins. She said climate change was bull and I said just wait. Then I realized and said to her, “Of course you’re not as concerned about climate change. You won’t be around to see what happens, but what about your children and grandchildren?” I’m certain that woman is dead now.

UN report on climate change 2018


UN Climate change report-october 2018-Today I did the research on this topic. Please go check out this survey that describes concerns about climate change in the United States between 2015 and 2018, by age group. During this period, over 51 percent of adults between 18 and 34 years of age agreed that global climate change will pose a serious threat. Of those over 55, less than one third felt climate change was a serious concern in their future.  Now let’s ask the thousands of victims of Hurricane Michael. Why was this the first storm to hit this area in decades and why did it’s intensity increase when it headed out over the land?

Further research suggests:

“Climate change believers are generally younger, more educated, have more money, and are non-white (which means skeptics are generally older, less educated, and white). But all these factors are only weakly associated with climate change beliefs… Instead, political affiliation – Democrat, Independent, or Republican – strongly predicted climate change belief, such that Democrats are more likely to believe in climate change than Republicans…

This might suggest that groupthink, the psychological effect of similar thinking to maintain conformity to a group, guides climate change attitudes, not just ideology alone.” “Understanding Climate Change Skeptics” in Nature Education

5 thoughts on “Do beliefs about climate change depend on how old you are, your education level or “groupthink”?

  1. Interesting. I am a senior, white (but of a religious minority), have a college degree, been liberal my entire life, and I fully believe in climate change. It isn’t a belief. In my mind, it’s a certainty. I see it, from observation, in the way the clouds look different now, the way rain comes down, the way storms behave, and it is scary beyond belief at times. How can you deny what your eyes see? Meantime, my mother in law – intelligent, perceptive and devoutly Republican, denies climate change. This is morphed, over the years to “this is just a natural cycle, and man had nothing to do with it.” We can understand this groupthink, but how can we change it? I am not optimistic.


  2. It amazes me how some of us simply cannot see what is right in front of us! There are none so blind as those who will not see!
    And I believe we’ll see greater and greater storms, drought and catastrophic occurrences. This is so scary.


  3. Climate change is here. How many 100 year storms can be dismissed as a once in a lifetime? 2 Examples on both coasts. Here on the west coast, when we built our home 30 years ago in our neighborhood of 14 homes, no one put in central air conditioning. Now all but one home has AC because summers are hot here in Portland Oregon! The one outstanding home just as room air conditioners.
    My sister has been going to the same summer vacation home on Cape Cod for 35 years. The property has a small beach. Now that beach at high tide is gone and the water covers the last 3 steps that lead down to the beach. If I have positive proof you know there are millions more with the explanation, Climate Change!!


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