Climate Change Science: A Modern Synthesis

pp 445-466


Understanding Climate Change Denial

  • G. Thomas FarmerAffiliated withFarmer Enterprises
  • , John CookAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, The University of Queensland

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At its heart, climate denial is the rejection of the scientific consensus that humans are disrupting the climate. Denial of a consensus can be identified by five telltale characteristics: fake experts, cherry picking, logical fallacies, impossible expectations and conspiracy theories. These techniques are observed in the tactics and strategies of the climate denial movement, disseminated by ideological think-tanks, some conservative governments and vested interests through a range of media streams. The key to responding to climate misinformation is to provide alternative narratives that are more compelling than the myths they replace.


Climate denial Denier Consensus Peer-review Uncertainty Fake experts Cherry picking Logical fallacies Impossible expectations Conspiracy theories “Climategate” Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC Conservative ideology Media balance-as-bias Conservative think tanks Government Corporate vested interests Internet Misinformation Refutation Backfire effect