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Poles apart: political divisions over climate change among younger Australians

Tranter, B ORCID: 0000-0002-0649-6065, Skribis, Z and Smith, J 2020 , 'Poles apart: political divisions over climate change among younger Australians' , Journal of Applied Youth Studies, vol. 3 , 255–273 , doi: 10.1007/s43151-020-00013-5.

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Political polarisation over anthropogenic climate change (ACC) is an important barrierto climate action in countries such as Australia and the USA. Given the rising concernsexpressed by younger people globally over the existential threat posed by globalwarming, are political divisions over climate change lessening among young people?Are young Australians more knowledgeable about climate change than their elders, andto what extent does knowledge influence their climate attitudes? We explore thesequestions with recent survey data from a cohort of young Australians (aged 26) livingin Queensland and national data from the 2018 Australian Survey of Social Attitudes.We find that younger Australians are not more knowledgeable about climate changethan older Australians. However, knowledge of climate change is associated withgreater acceptance of ACC among younger Australians. Social and political factorsare also important. Young men score higher on climate knowledge than young women,but men are less likely than women to accept that climate change has human causes.Those with vocational education score lower than others on climate knowledge and arealso less likely to believe in ACC. While younger Australians are likelier to acceptACC than older Australians, political party allegiance remains the strongest influenceupon the attitudes of young people, with Liberal and National Party identifiers far lesslikely than others to accept ACC, even after controlling for social background andclimate knowledge. This research suggests that politics remains the greatest barrier toreal action on climate change, even among younger Australians.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Tranter, B and Skribis, Z and Smith, J
Keywords: climate change, polar knowledge, climate change knowledge, political party identification; young people, Australia
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Applied Youth Studies
Publisher: Springer Singapore
ISSN: 2204-9193
DOI / ID Number: 10.1007/s43151-020-00013-5
Copyright Information:

Copyright Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

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