Conservation groups have warned Tayside climate change deniers to “wake up” before it’s too late.
Angus’ 17% of population is second highest in a Scottish Household Survey table of the 32 local authorities in Scotland, who still do not believe climate change is happening.
Robin Parker from WWF Scotland told people in Angus the “climate emergency” is an “inescapable reality, and we are already witnessing its effects”.
Neighbouring Aberdeenshire has the highest percentage of climate change deniers at 19%, while Perth and Kinross has 10% and Dundee and Fife are both on 7%.
He said: “Only last week many parts of Scotland experienced severe flash flooding and these incidents are only going to become more frequent, with no part of the country immune from the impacts.
“The debate on whether climate change exists is over, no more strongly demonstrated than last month when politicians from across the Scottish Parliament voted for the strongest climate legislation in the world.”
Wendy Murray from Angus Clean Environments (ACE) said it was “difficult to comprehend” how anybody can doubt that “climate change is a reality impacting on us right here in Angus”.
She said: “We are experiencing more extreme weather events and many communities across Angus face a real risk of more frequent flooding.
“People in Angus have lagged well behind the rest of Scotland for a number of years in remaining unconvinced that climate change is happening.
“The people of Angus are clearly lacking direction and support on this issue.
“I would urge elected members to do everything possible to educate and provide clear targets and incentives for all sections of the community to reduce further global warming.”
Councillors in Angus voted to remove a 2045 deadline to become carbon neutral and also to take out key actions from a plan to tackle the effect of climate change on local communities.
Administration councillors said Angus was too rural to de-carbonise rapidly and questioned what other parts of the world — such as the province of Bali in Indonesia — were doing to tackle the problem.
Kirriemuir SNP councillor Julie Bell, Angus Council’s habitat champion for marine littering, said the figures “must surely be a wake-up call for all of us”.
She said: “To ignore the science is beyond reckless.
“I really cannot comprehend the barriers to understanding climate change and, worse, the emergency we are facing.”
She said the “lack of political leadership” in Angus is one element behind what she described as the “ostrich-head-in-the-sand approach”.
“Comments that suggest Angus is too rural to do anything about a climate emergency are feeding that agenda and completely undermining the excellent work that council officers have been developing for years.
“I am heartened by many local and national developments that suggest to me we are reaching a significant tipping point, fuelled by the remarkable bravery of young people like Greta Thunberg, so let’s do more to support the 83% who do believe in climate change, most of whom will already be actively doing something about it.”
Monifieth Liberal Democrat Ben Lawrie said the figures show there is still much work to do in “raising awareness amongst the public around the threat that climate change poses to our way of life”.
“In the face of hard facts and universal scientific consensus there are still those who remain sceptical of climate change.
“I urge these people to get behind moves to green up our community.”