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Climate Skepticism Could Wipe Out Whole Towns in Australia

Stubborn climate skeptic hold-outs now face more than just the rest of the world's scorn: Their towns might not be on the map in a few years.

A Farm in New South Whales, Australia. Photo: JIGGS Images

Still don’t believe in climate change? Stubborn climate skeptic hold-outs now face more than just the rest of the world’s scorn: Their towns might not be on the map in a few years. At least this was the conclusion drawn by a new report studying inland Australian townships reluctant to acknowledge or adapt to the threat of impending climate change.

Australia’s ABC News reports on the story:

The report studied 1,600 bush towns and found the ones with low education rates are least likely to make the decisions needed to adapt to a hotter future.

But in many regional areas there is resistance to change because of lingering skepticism about climate change.

Author Professor Andrew Beer says climate change and market forces will de-populate entire towns.

Even if researchers come up with strategies to help the towns adapt, experts are afraid that the skeptical residents may be resistant to changing their ways before it’s too late. Though a precise estimate of climate change’s future impacts on the towns is impossible to project, the coming years do not look bright:

“It’s impossible to predict because between now and 2050 is a very long time,” he told The World Today.

“But you could easily see the loss of 10 per cent. So 160 country towns across Australia could be gone within 20 years and a further 10 per cent by 2050 – simply because of climate change and the failure to adapt to it.

“So, many people living in a small place right now will discover that their town won’t be there in 40 years’ time.”

An Australian farmer quoted in the story says that he “takes on board” that some scientists do not believe in climate change, and claims that, regardless, local farmers are already adapting their ways for future climate shifts.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Climate Change: Why We Worry 

The Overwhelming Data We Refuse to Believe 

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