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Climate change denial

Analysis and Comment (19)

Conspiracy theories are so hard to debunk because they use science. Conspiracy theories are so hard to debunk because they use science. Flickr/dexterd

The ironclad logic of conspiracy theories and how to break it

As the United Nations warns of the dire consequences of global warming, the commitment of the current Australian government to the reality of climate change remains unclear, with a history of disturbingly…
If you debate with trolls you soon learn some of their tactics. If you debate with trolls you soon learn some of their tactics. Flickr/Kenny Louie

What I learned from debating science with trolls

I often like to discuss science online and I’m also rather partial to topics that promote lively discussion, such as climate change, crime statistics and (perhaps surprisingly) the big bang. This inevitably…
Climate change tends to attract some form of protest such as this in 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Climate change tends to attract some form of protest such as this in 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Flickr/Simon Leufstedt

Why do some controversies persist despite the evidence?

The debate over climate change is relatively young while nuclear power and pesticides have been heated topics since the 1960s, and fluoridation since the 1950s. So what is it about these scientific controversies…
New research shows how a climate of uncertainty pushes us towards worse outcomes. New research shows how a climate of uncertainty pushes us towards worse outcomes. Lukiyanova Natalia/frenta/Shutterstock

Uncertainty isn’t cause for climate complacency – quite the opposite

If we’re not certain that the problem’s there, then … we shouldn’t take actions which have a high severity the other way. This was the response from David Murray – then chairman of Australia’s Future Fund…
The threat of legal action can have a “chilling effect” on academic freedom. The threat of legal action can have a “chilling effect” on academic freedom. Shutterstock

The journal that gave in to climate deniers' intimidation

In February 2013, the journal Frontiers in Psychology published a peer-reviewed paper which found that people who reject climate science are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories. Predictably enough…
Better communication may have saved lives in Italy’s L'Aquila earthquake. Better communication may have saved lives in Italy’s L'Aquila earthquake. TheWiz83

Is misinformation about the climate criminally negligent?

The importance of clearly communicating science to the public should not be underestimated. Accurately understanding our natural environment and sharing that information can be a matter of life or death…
Facts not enough: the climate message is still not getting through. Facts not enough: the climate message is still not getting through. Shutterstock

Facts won’t beat the climate deniers – using their tactics will

A colleague of mine recently received an invitation to a Climate Council event. The invitation featured this Tim Flannery quote: “An opinion is useless, what we need are more facts." My first thought was…
Smoking: bad for pretty much everything. Smoking: bad for pretty much everything. SlapAyoda

Establishing consensus is vital for climate action

What’s the best way to reduce the roughly half a million annual deaths from smoking in the US alone? Nearly half a million lives cut short, often with untold suffering, by a commercial product that has…
The truth is out there. The truth is out there. Flickr/J

The truth is out there – so how do you debunk a myth?

Debunking myths requires an understanding of the psychological research into misinformation. But getting your refutation out in front of lots of eyeballs is a whole other matter. Here, I look at two contrasting…
Stormy weather hits New Zealand’s capital, Wellington. Stormy weather hits New Zealand’s capital, Wellington. Flickr.com/wiifm69 (Sean Hamlin)

An insider’s story of the global attack on climate science

A recent headline – Failed doubters trust leaves taxpayers six-figure loss – marked the end of a four-year epic saga of secretly-funded climate denial, harassment of scientists and tying-up of valuable…
No evidence is enough evidence for some people. No evidence is enough evidence for some people. Zak Hussein/PA

Cherry pick all the facts you like, but Earth is still warming

In the run-up to the publication of the Fifth assessment report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) there is the usual flurry of activity among those with an interest…
To whom does one complain about the PCC? To whom does one complain about the PCC? Yui Mok/PA

Freedom of speech is not freedom to spin

Free speech does not imply the freedom to mislead. We want our media to be free, but also honest and reliable. Balancing those sometimes competing demands is a subtle and difficult task. In many countries…
If only it were a matter of opinion. If only it were a matter of opinion. Matt Brown

I bet it’s biased: one easy step to squash expert opinions

Accusations of scientific bias are the new catch-all weapon for anti-science commentators and climate deniers. Why are they effective? New research shows they may exploit part of our psychology. Climate…
We now know far more about the universe’s violent beginnings than we did in the 1940s. We now know far more about the universe’s violent beginnings than we did in the 1940s. matley0/Flickr

‘One funeral at a time’: Big Bang denial and the search for truth

We are living in an era of science denial. An era when well-established facts are disputed, fake experts are interviewed by the media and blog posts trump science papers. It’s an era of vaccine denial…
Relax and have a drink, old chap; the planet has managed to look after itself so far without any fuss. Relax and have a drink, old chap; the planet has managed to look after itself so far without any fuss. Flickr/cyclonebill

Climate change and the soothing message of luke-warmism

We are familiar with the tactics, arguments, and personnel of the denial industry. Yet there is a perhaps more insidious and influential line of argument that is preventing the world from responding to…
One of the benefits of using the health frame is that it makes the issues more tangible – here and now and about people, not just polar bears. One of the benefits of using the health frame is that it makes the issues more tangible – here and now and about people, not just polar bears. Roderick Eime/AAP

Reframing climate change could deliver health benefits

Climate change is a complex problem but appears to many people as lacking immediate impact on their lives. Reconceptualising it as a health issue may allow for both better understanding of the issue and…

Research and News (2)