Perceived Mitigation Threat Mediates Effects of Right-Wing Ideology on Climate Change Beliefs


Although the link between political ideology and climate change denial is well-established, less is known about the drivers of this relationship. This study evaluates a system justification theory explanation for this phenomenon by examining how threat to the socioeconomic system via climate change mitigation mediates the ideology–climate change denial relationship. It extends understanding of this relationship by examining the differential effects of two types of right-wing ideology: Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) and Social Dominance Orientation (SDO). Participants (N = 334; Mage = 34.70, SD = 5.98) were recruited via Amazon MTurk. SDO and the conventionalism facet of RWA were positively associated with climate change denial. These relationships were partially mediated by climate change mitigation threat. These findings provisionally support the argument that certain right-wing adherents will engage in climate change denial in part due to a perception that mitigation strategies to combat climate change will threaten the current socioeconomic system.