Meta-analyses of the determinants and outcomes of belief in climate change

Matthew J. Hornsey, Emily A. Harris, Paul G. Bain, Kelly S. Fielding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

819 Citations (SciVal)


Recent growth in the number of studies examining belief in climate change is a positive development, but presents an ironic challenge in that it can be difficult for academics, practitioners and policy makers to keep pace. As a response to this challenge, we report on a meta-analysis of the correlates of belief in climate change. Twenty-seven variables were examined by synthesizing 25 polls and 171 academic studies across 56 nations. Two broad conclusions emerged. First, many intuitively appealing variables (such as education, sex, subjective knowledge, and experience of extreme weather events) were overshadowed in predictive power by values, ideologies, worldviews and political orientation. Second, climate change beliefs have only a small to moderate effect on the extent to which people are willing to act in climate-friendly ways. Implications for converting sceptics to the climate change cause - and for converting believers' intentions into action - are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)622-626
Number of pages5
JournalNature Climate Change
Early online date22 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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