What's wrong with climate science deniers

How climate deniers can be convinced

Openness instead of defiance
Even climate skeptics let themselves be talked about - science shows ways how to do this.
“I don't believe in global warming” graffito in London, probably by Bansky.

You have to know that

  • The denial of man-made climate change is part of science denial in the scientific literature.
  • The "motivated" denial is that which is practiced in spite of access to and knowledge of the scientific facts.
  • An important motivation for climate skeptics is the desire to maintain the existing socio-economic system.

The climate skeptics have powerful friends. For example, the American President Donald Trump. Even during his election campaign, Trump described climate change as a joke ("hoax") that China had invented. In 2018, he accused scientists researching climate change of pursuing a political agenda. And in 2019 he quoted the well-known climate denier Patrick Moore, who called climate science a sham science.

Climate researcher Reto Knutti

"One looks for counter-arguments against something that does not fit into one's own view of the world"

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At the same time, most of the studies that shed light on the mechanisms behind the negation of man-made climate change have emerged in the USA.

A new overview study now draws conclusions and shows ways in which climate skeptics can be brought to their senses. It was published in the journal Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. The American researchers came up with four ways to convince a climate skeptic.

Science check ✓

Study: Understanding and countering the motivated roots of climate change denial Countless studies have addressed specific, psychological issues related to climate and science denial. The results presented here are therefore to be taken seriously.More information on this study ...Reliability: peer-reviewed, American studies, no indication of how many studies were included.Study type: ReviewFunders: National Socio-Environmental Synthesis, Center, U.S. National Science FoundationAll information about the higgs Science Check

The socio-economic fear

Behind the denial of man-made climate change is often the desire to preserve the existing socio-economic system. Climate change threatens this system. If climate change and the measures, on the other hand, were communicated in such a way that they are compatible with the existing system, the views of people who question climate change could change, according to the study.

Climate denial as identity

Climate change has become one of the most polarizing issues in the western world - and the fronts run along ideological and political lines. In the USA, the vast majority of climate skeptics come from the conservative and neoliberal milieu. Because: Many people form their opinion not on the basis of facts, but on the basis of belonging. This split could be broken in the discussion about climate change if the values ​​and vocabulary of the conservatives were also included, argue the authors of the study. So if, for example, “purity” were talked about instead of harm and care, even conservatives could more easily identify with the topic.

The social influence

Social norms are hugely effective in changing attitudes and behavior. Information that we - climate skeptics or not - receive from a source we trust is more likely to change our mind than information we do not know or distrust. Personal conversations also bring a lot - the closer the person is to us, the more. Children and young people who involve their parents in a climate discussion are very successful.

The power of self-affirmation

Climate change threatens not only the socio-economic system, but also potentially a person's integrity: that is, the view of oneself as capable, consistent, and principled. Being able to share what values ​​you hold and what is relevant to you is an important part of self-affirmation. Climate skeptics, however, are often denied this right. “There is a strong thinking of: 'over there are the deniers, let's not care about them - it's not worth it,'” says behavioral scientist and lead author Gabrielle Wong-Parodi in a press release. "Many strategies assume that something is wrong with climate deniers instead of recognizing that they have beliefs and that that is important."

Man made or not?

We are discussing the wrong climate issue

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