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Public Underst Sci. 2014 Feb;23(2):170-88. doi: 10.1177/0963662512449948. Epub 2012 Jul 24.

Perceptions of climate change and trust in information providers in rural Australia.

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Queensland University of Technology, Australia.


Disagreement within the global science community about the certainty and causes of climate change has led the general public to question what to believe and whom to trust on matters related to this issue. This paper reports on qualitative research undertaken with Australian residents from two rural areas to explore their perceptions of climate change and trust in information providers. While overall, residents tended to agree that climate change is a reality, perceptions varied in terms of its causes and how best to address it. Politicians, government, and the media were described as untrustworthy sources of information about climate change, with independent scientists being the most trusted. The vested interests of information providers appeared to be a key reason for their distrust. The findings highlight the importance of improved transparency and consultation with the public when communicating information about climate change and related policies.


climate change; environment education; interaction experts/publics; public understanding of science; risk attitudes; risk communication; science experts

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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