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Australian Farmers’ Climate Denial Begins To Wane As Reality Bites

October 19, 2018 |

This article was originally published on 

“Australia has been described as the “front line of the battle for climate change adaptation”, and our farmers are the ones who have to lead the charge. Farmers will have to cope, among other pressures, with longer droughts, more erratic rainfall, higher temperatures, and changes to the timing of seasons.

Yet, puzzlingly enough to many commentators, climate denial has been widespread among farmers and in the ranks of the National Party, which purports to represent their interests. Back in 2008, only one-third of farmers accepted the science of . Our 2010-11 survey of 946 irrigators in the southern Murray-Darling Basin (published in 2013) found similar results: 32 percent accepted that climate change posed a risk to their region; half disagreed; and 18 percent did not know.

These numbers have consistently trailed behind the wider public, a clear majority of whom have consistently accepted the science. More Australians in 2018 accepted the reality of climate change than at almost any time, with 76 percent accepting climate change is occurring, 11 percent not believing in it and 13 percent being unsure.

Yet there are signs we may be on the brink of a wholesale shift in farmers’ attitudes towards climate change. For example, we have seen the creation of Young Carbon FarmersFarmers for Climate Action, the first ever rally on climate change by farmers in Canberra, and national adverts by farmers on the need for . Since 2016 the National Farmers Federation has strengthened its calls for action to reduce greenhouse emissions…”

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