Data: Climate change disinformation clouds public understanding

Widespread misconceptions, often fuelled by disinformation, are clouding public understanding of climate change, a report has found.

The report by not-for-profit Conscious Advertising Network and advertising network Dentsu reveals that climate change remains a significant concern for Britons, with a majority worried about its impact on the economy, health, and food security.

However, widespread misconceptions, often fuelled by disinformation, are clouding public understanding and could hinder effective action, the report finds.

The survey sampled a range of 1012 adults in the UK to gauge public perception of climate change, including testing disinformation myths, and understanding consumer expectations towards brands when it comes to sustainability.

The report found 85% of the British public acknowledged the impact on various aspects of life such as the economy, health, migration and food security.

But 82% of the British public believes in at least one of the pieces of disinformation presented in the survey, with the average British person believing in 2.4 of the 7 pieces of information.

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Men, millennials and those outside England believe in more of the pieces of disinformation on average.

Despite this, most (55%) do understand that climate disinformation has contributed to confusion or scepticism about climate change.

Some 40% of respondents pointed to social media as the primary source of climate disinformation, followed by news articles (20%) and family and friends (9%).

CAN co-founder Jake Dubbins said: “This research shows that misconceptions about climate change are widespread, and the advertising and media industries must recognise their role in either perpetuating or addressing these misconceptions.

 “Businesses need to recognise that association with climate disinformation not only undermines their credibility and reputation but also jeopardises their long-term viability in a world increasingly focused on sustainability.”

Earlier this year, the UK government was called on to tackle misinformation surrounding electric vehicles to help ensure a “successful” transition.

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