One in three UK teens believe climate change is exaggerated, according to a recent report. The rise of climate denial videos on platforms like YouTube has contributed to this growing skepticism among the young population.

The survey, which involved British teens aged 13 to 17, found that 31% believe that the effects of climate change are being “purposefully exaggerated”. The research indicates a shift in the climate change narrative among younger Britons, with an increasing number aligning with a new form of climate denial.

This finding comes at a time when world leaders are convening to discuss the climate crisis, underscoring the gap between scientific consensus and public perception. This raises questions about future policy support and the necessary behavioral changes to mitigate global warming.

The Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) suggests that ‘New Denial’ has shifted to concentrate on three key narratives: the inefficacy of climate solutions; the unreliability of climate science and the climate movement; and the portrayal of global warming impacts as beneficial or harmless.

The study reveals that while ‘New Denial’ narratives constituted a mere 35% of all climate denial content on YouTube in 2018, they now represent a substantial majority at 70%. Conversely, ‘Old Denial’ content, which outrightly negates the existence of climate change, has seen a considerable decline from 65% to just 30% of total claims.

In the face of overwhelming scientific evidence pointing to human-induced climate change as a substantial threat, this growing disbelief amongst UK teenagers is alarming. This shift occurs as the impacts of climate change become more apparent. Studies have shown that global heating has likely made weather phenomena like El Niños and La Niñas more frequent and extreme.

The rise of ‘New Denial’ narratives emphasizes the need for accurate and reliable climate education. It also underscores the importance of promoting science-based understanding of climate change, especially among the younger generation.