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Climate Change Skepticism Is Highest In Japan, Britain and U.S., Poll Finds

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While nine out of 10 people surveyed in a recent Ipsos poll "believe that the climate has changed significantly in the past 20 years," those polled in Japan, Britain and the U.S. had the highest rates of climate change skepticism.

Commissioned by the AXA Group, an international insurance firm, agreement on whether climate change has been scientifically proven was the lowest in Japan at 58 percent, followed by Britain at 63 percent and the U.S. at 65 percent.

Conversely, 95 percent of those polled in Indonesia agreed that climate change is scientifically proven. Hong Kong and Turkey also had relatively high rates of agreement at 89 and 86 percent, respectively.

The results of the online poll, which surveyed 13,492 adults in 13 countries from July 5 to August 6, are similar to those of a smaller Angus Reid Public Opinion survey released earlier this year. The online Angus Reid poll found that climate change skepticism is higher in U.S. and Britain than Canada, with 21 percent of Americans and 22 percent of Brits responding that climate change is "a theory that has not yet been proven."

Both polls indicate that there are many in the U.S. who still don't believe climate change is confirmed by science, but the numbers may be changing. Christiana Figueres, one of the United Nation's top climate change officials, said during a press conference in Washington D.C. Monday, "skepticism around climate is abating," especially in the U.S.

“You see both trends — both understanding that the climate is changing and that it is manmade — both trends are moving in the right direction,” she added, according to The Hill. “This country is being affected by it as well as the rest of the world, and no matter which administration is sitting in the White House, they need to face that."

Belief in climate change was on an upswing last year, with 83 percent of Americans agreeing that the world is warming, as compared to 75 percent in 2010, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll. However, the results of the most recent Ipsos poll suggest skepticism in the U.S. has spiked -- only 72 percent of Americans surveyed said the climate has changed significantly in the past 20 years.

Despite the country's wavering public opinion, 97 percent of American scientists and over a dozen national science academies acknowledge the reality of climate change, and the link between global warming and extreme weather is becoming more and more apparent.

"If you look all over the world, we have a great disastrous drought in North America ... you have the same situation in the Mediterranean... If you look at all the extremes together you can say that these are indicators of global warming," Friedrich-Wilhelm Gerstengabe, a professor at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, told Reuters.

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