Communicating Climate Science & Countering Disinformation

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Speaker: John Cook (Skeptical Science)
Date: 27th May 2011

There are many roadblocks in communicating the realities of climate change to the general public. Climate science has faced one of the best funded disinformation campaigns in history. Mainstream media has portrayed the impression of a 50/50 debate when in reality, 97% of climate scientists are convinced of man-made global warming. On top of these external influences, a number of psychological barriers remain. Ideology, fear of change and the conceptual difficulties of long-term climate trends all make it difficult for people to grasp the threat of global warming. Climate communicators need to navigate all these barriers. As well as explaining the science, countering disinformation requires providing an alternative narrative on how disinformers mislead as well as explaining the science. I outline ways to frame the science in terms the general public understand. I also explain the main rhetorical techniques of climate deniers, and how to rebut common climate myths.