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Are Climate Skeptics the Greenest?

Surprising study shows climate skeptics report more pro-environment behavior.

In a recent study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, scientists found that climate change believers were the least likely to report individual-level actions. Climate skeptics, by contrast, were most likely to report pro-environmental behavior.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Universities of Michigan and Cornell over one year with 600 American participants. It found a clear relationship between concern for global warming and not taking personal actions that reflected their beliefs.

For longtime readers of Liberty Nation, this may not come as a surprise. We have documented how the left shows a consistent pattern of hypocrisy, which includes the topic of global warming. We also have demonstrated that youth climate activists are the greatest polluters.

A Surprising Mechanism

But why? And what can be done about it? One famous psychologist that has outlined an answer is Dr. Jordan Peterson. In his bestseller 12 Rules for Life, #6 says, “set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.” It points out that people who fail to live meaningful, competent lives will try to compensate through escapism.

Many young basement dwellers try to live as heroes in computer games, to imitate the kind of life they wish they had in the real world. Others turn to politics or other crusades. These try to play heroes by virtue signaling to their peers, going to climate protests, and criticizing the world for not living up to their moral standards, which so often they fail to live up to themselves.

Their drug of choice may be computer games, political activism, or opioids, but the result is the same: a temporary relief from having to deal with their lack of life efficacy.

This psychological mechanism fits well with the various studies that show people who lean left tend to be more hypocritical. It is a well-known fact that people grow more conservative with age. This coincides with improved life mastery and productivity. Young people are often less competent and could, therefore, be more prone to evade reality. In other words, hypocrisy and escapism are related phenomena.

This interpretation also puts climate skeptics in a new light. It indicates that those who do not believe in climate catastrophism tend to be people who keep their life in order. Those who are competent in dealing with the human condition will be skeptical of government action and instead look for ways to improve their surroundings and community through local initiative.

A surprising conclusion that can be drawn from this is that one way to move people in a more climate skeptic direction is to help them assume more personal responsibility in becoming competent citizens. This positive message indicates that it is possible to move the ideological and cultural needle merely by promoting self-improvement.


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