Are farmers the most climate skeptical profession?  – Liberation

Are farmers the most climate skeptical profession? – Liberation

Are farmers the most climate skeptical profession?  – Liberation

For the agronomist Philippe Pointereau, “there are no climate skeptics among farmers”. In response, advocate of the animal cause Florimond Peureux claims otherwise, Ademe figures in support.

“There are no climate skeptics among farmers: they experience climate change every day”assured on 24 August, in an interview with 1 weekly, Philippe Pointereau, agronomist from Solagro, an organization charged with supporting farmers in their agro-ecological transition. Four days later, a Twitter response from Florimond Peureux, president of the National Observatory for Plant Foods: “Based on existing data, farmers are the most climate skeptical profession.”

Which of Pointereau or Peureux is right? In support of his thesis, the latter, an animal rights activist, highlights the 22nd edition of the barometer Social representations of climate change the Agency for the Management of the Environment and Energy (Ademe). According to this study from October 2021, 15% of farmers are considered, following answers to a series of questions on the subject, as “skeptical” about climate change, and 61% are classified in the “hesitation” category. These are the two highest rates of all professions on these items. In comparison, 5% of employees, 6% of intermediate professions, 7% of workers and 10% of managers and intellectual professions are “skeptical”.

On the other hand, according to Ademe, only 24% of farmers are “convinced” of the reality of climate change, compared to 52% of managers and intellectual professions, 49% of employees and 48% of intermediate professions.

However, it is difficult to rely on these figures to judge farmers’ climate skepticism, as their sample is extremely small. The Ademe study is based on 1,500 respondents representing the French company. But as farmers represent only 1.5% of the active population, only 33 of them replied to the questionnaire. “A bit fragile to draw a general conclusion”euphemizes Daniel Boy, co-author of the Ademe barometer.

Same limits for electoral institutes that have carried out similar studies. In the French and global warming: persistent skepticism despite the urgencycarried out by Primes Energie / Opinion Way in the first quarter of 2022 on a sample of 1,022 people, only 10 farmers were among the respondents. “It is absolutely not representative”confirms Jean-Maurice Galicia, president of the Dakota agency who participated in the survey.

For their part, EDF and Ipsos published in 2021 the results of the International Observatory on Climate and Public Opinion, which analyzes data in thirty countries. But even here the sample for France amounts to only 1,000 people, of which 1% are farmers. “Statistically it would not be reliable to give results on such a small population”, acknowledges Estelle Chandeze, deputy director of Ipsos.

To find a survey with a larger sample, it is necessary to go back to 2017. Always conducted by Ademe, it was conducted among 789 farmers. And the results prove Florimond Peureux quite right: 10% of the farmers interviewed are therefore considered “skeptical” (against 8% of the general public) in the face of climate change, 38% are “convinced” (51% for the audience) and 52% “hesitant” (41% for the public). “It’s a solid study, but it deserves an update, because it happened five years ago”however, ThĂ©o Ponchel, the project manager of Opinion Way, who contributed to the investigation, tempers.

The more detailed data also makes it possible to establish that the most skeptical farmers are the oldest (31% among those over 65, against 5% among those under 36), working on a farm of 200 ha or more (18%, compared to 8% for less than 20 ha) and in conventional agriculture without the intention of switching to organic (11%, against 51% for respondents in transition or partially in organic farming). “It shows that farmers are more skeptical than the public, but they are not a homogeneous category”, sums up Daniel Boy, who conducted the investigation. And they are undoubtedly changing that, as farmers under 36 are less climate skeptical than the general population (all ages combined).

This study also points out that 84% of farmers “they believe they have to change their agricultural activity due to climate change”, and 74% of them say they are able to do so “Reduce their greenhouse gas emissions generated by their business”.

Philippe Pointereau, for his part, admits in 1 weekly I have no figures to confirm it“There are no climate skeptics among farmers”. Contacted by CheckNewsit just explains “Working with many farmers, who today have to face frosts, droughts and a lack of water for irrigation”.

Amelia Zaccour

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