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Cook, J., Oreskes, N., Doran, P. T., Anderegg, W. R., Verheggen, B., Maibach, E. W., Carlton, J. S., Lewandowsky, S., Skuce, A. G., Green, S. A., ... & Nuccitelli, D. (2016). Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming. Environmental Research Letters, 11(4), 048002.
Cook, J., Nuccitelli, D., Green, S.A., Richardson, M., Winkler, B., Painting, R., Way, R., Jacobs, P., & Skuce, A. (2013). Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature. Environmental Research Letters, 8(2), 024024+
Jacobs, P. H., Jokimäki, A., Rice, K., Green, S. A., & Winkler, B. (2016). Polluted Discourse: Communication and Myths in a Climate of Denial. In Communicating Climate-Change and Natural Hazard Risk and Cultivating Resilience (pp. 37-54). Springer International Publishing. Link to abstract
Recent blog posts
Posted on 3 May 2016 by BaerbelW & jg
Chances are high that you will have come across somebody somewhere on the internet who still doesn't accept the overwhelming scientific consensus on human-caused global warming. That somebody may well have used a veritable firehose of falsehoods - usually referred to as a gish-gallop - where a big list of myths is fired off in quick succession. Creating such a gish-gallop is quick & easy and the urge to try and debunk all the misinformation it contains is often quite strong, but it's also a very time-consuming task to undertake. One time-saving option to tackle it, is to just concentrate on the most egregious instances of misinformation as examples of how the writer tries to mislead his readers and to ignore the rest. But, this has the disadvantage that others might accuse you of cherry-picking what you chose to debunk.
So, what other options do you have to fairly quickly dispense with such a firehose of falsehoods?
Option #1 - The Fact-Myth-Fallacy overview
Our MOOC Denial101x debunked around 50 of the most often heard myths related to climate science using the recipe to start out with the fact, followed by a short mention of the myth (with a warning!) and finishing off with explaining the fallacy employed. A condensed version of these debunkings is available as a four-page-PDF which you can download from here:
The fallacies are based on the five techniques used by science deniers to distort facts: fake experts, logical fallacies, impossible expectations, cherry picking evidence, and conspiracy theories. The acronym FLICC is an easy way to remember these techniques.
Posted on 23 February 2016 by BaerbelW &
Have you ever struggled with the communication of climate change uncertainties? Are you frustrated by climate sceptics using uncertainty - inherent in any area of complex science - as a justification for delaying policy responses? Then the new ‘Uncertainty Handbook’ - a collaboration between the University of Bristol and Climate Outreach (former COIN) - is for you.
The Handbook distills the most important research findings and expert advice on communicating uncertainty into a few pages of practical, easy-to-apply techniques, providing scientists, policymakers and campaigners with the tools they need to communicate more effectively around climate change. Download the report here, and check out our 12 principles for more effectively communicating climate change uncertainty here.
The Uncertainty Handbook was authored by Dr. Adam Corner (Climate Outreach), Professor Stephan Lewandowsky (University of Bristol), Dr Mary Phillips (University of Bristol) and Olga Roberts (Climate Outreach). All are experts in their fields and have expertise relating to the role of uncertainty in climate change or how best to communicate it.
Posted on 29 December 2015 by BaerbelW &
2015 has been yet another very productive year for the all volunteer Skeptical Science team. From publishing scientific papers to co-producing a MOOC we were kept rather busy throughout the year. This post is a wrap-up of what all we’ve been up to and includes these sections:
As in previous years, members of the SkS-team contributed to ongoing scientific research and (co)authored several important papers, published books and a book chapter.
Kevin Cowtan published a paper (Cowtan et al. 2015) which showed that global climate models are even more accurate than previously thought. Several members of the SkS-team were among the co-authors: Zeke Hausfather, Peter Jacobs, Martin Stolpe and Robert Way.
Dana Nuccitelli and John Cook were co-authors on Benestad et al. (2015) which found common errors among the 3% of climate papers that reject the global warming consensus.
John Cook published Misinformation and How to Correct It (Cook et al. 2015) a multi-discplinary review of misinformation research. He was asked to anticipate where future research into misinformation might head - which is a tough ask. He approached it creatively by answering the question what he would like to research in the future.
John also is a co-author on Recurrent Fury: Conspiratorial Discourse in the Blogosphere Triggered by Research on the Role of Conspiracist Ideation in Climate Denial (Lewandowsky et al. 2015) which examined the comments on climate science-denying blogs and found strong evidence of widespread conspiratorial thinking. The study looks at the comments made in response to a previous paper linking science denial and conspiracy theories.
In "Misdiagnosis of earth climate sensitivity based on energy balance model results" Mark Richardson - together with Zeke Hausfather, Dana Nuccitelli, Ken Rice and John P. Abraham - explained the many shortcomings in Monckton et al. (2015). They found that differences could be explained because Monckton et al. relied a lot on a narrative approach (aka storytelling) while most other studies use physics and real-world measurements where possible.
Dana Nuccitelli wrote and published the book Climatology versus Pseudoscience: Exposing the Failed Predictions of Global Warming Skeptics which covers a wide range of climate-related topics, starting with a history of some key discoveries in the field of climate science beginning nearly 200 years ago. Along the way it debunks some common climate myths, progressing forward in time to the 1970s, when scientists’ ability to model the global climate began to advance rapidly. It examines the accuracy of a variety of global warming projections, starting with J.S. Sawyer in 1972, through the recent IPCC reports, as well as some predictions by contrarians like Richard Lindzen.
Posted on 28 October 2015 by BaerbelW &
If you are a long-time reader of Skeptical Science you'll be aware of the glossary functionality which automatically displays definitions of scientific terms when you have the cursor hover above an underlined term. This neat functionality was created and announced by Bob Lacatena and went live in February 2013.
The Skeptical Science team has had on and off discussions about the need for a kind of bibliography for all the scientific papers we regularly reference in our blog posts and rebuttals. During one of these discussions Phil mentioned that it would be nice to have the relevant reference immediately displayed in a pop-up-box. And so, the penny dropped and we realised that we already had this functionality available at Skeptical Science: the glossary!
I went ahead and did a quick test to see if the idea could work out and added an entry for Cook et al. (2013) to the glossary. Once the entry had been added and a page found where the spelling of the "term" - i.e. the reference - fitted the glossary entry, this immediately worked as intended and the citation was displayed in the right-hand margin of the page as soon as the cursor hovered above the reference:
You should be able to test this yourself with the above reference to our consensus study. Hover the cursor above it and see what happens! If it doesn't work, check your glossary settings via the "Look up a Term" panel shown at the bottom of this page:
Posted on 6 October 2015 by BaerbelW &
Thanks a lot to all of you who participated in our reader survey, providing lots of feedback for us to sift through and mull over! We'll share some snapshots of the results in this post and include some of your written comments, selected from those responses where you've given us your consent to share them.
We received 314 filled out surveys over the course of a week with most of them coming in the first 3 days after we posted the link. About 30 different countries show up in the results, with the US, Australia, the UK and Canada listed the most often which also makes English the most often mentioned first language.
Selected comments about blog posts:
Selected comments about rebuttals:
Posted on 15 September 2015 by BaerbelW &
Update: Our survey was closed on Sept. 22 - thanks to all of you who participated!
Since its inception in 2007 Skeptical Science has changed quite a lot and many resources have been added over the years. Our "Welcome to Skeptical Science" post gives a rough overview of which resources have been made available by John Cook and the dedicated team of volunteers from across the globe.
Many of the resources and features have been added because we hoped that they would be useful for you - our readers - and many of the comments you share - or the emails you write - are an indication that this is in fact the case. But, we'd like to dig deeper and get a better handle on which features are the most valuable for you or where we can improve Skeptical Science's content. This is why we put together the Skeptical Science Reader Survey (as of Sept. 22 the survey has been closed):
The survey shouldn't take longer than 5 to 10 minutes to complete. You'll find questions about which sections of Skeptical Science you regularly visit and how valuable you find them.
Most questions ask for feedback via a scale from 0 to 5 like the ones for blog posts shown on the left.
But, we also included free text questions where you can provide additional feedback about the resources or Skeptical Science in general.
So, thanks for taking our survey and helping us to make Skeptical Science better!
Here is the link to the survey: Skeptical Science Reader Survey
Posted on 3 September 2015 by LarryM & BaerbelW
The "Denial101x - Making Sense of Climate Science Denial" MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is now available as a self-paced course that anyone can take at any time. The course was produced by the all-volunteer Skeptical Science team and the University of Queensland, and hosted on the edX-platform. The lectures and expert interviews provide a unique resource for countering climate myths, learning effective myth-debunking techniques, and learning the basics of climate science in easily digestible bites. These resources are now available in an organized and easily searched format. Use them often!
MOOC videos. The collection of Denial101x videos listed below is organized by week and by topic. There are 81 lectures on focused topics, each about 5-7 minutes in length, plus 40 full interviews with experts in climate science and climate communication. The video playlist is also available on the Denial101x YouTube channel.
MOOC references. Each Denial101x lecture is supported by peer-reviewed research. A comprehensive list of references is available, with links to the corresponding papers.
MOOC-related blog posts:
Other SkS resources:
Index of videos by week
Posted on 1 August 2015 by BaerbelW &
Note to other translators:
Posted on 1 July 2015 by BaerbelW &
On June 16, the first iteration of Denial101x came to a close and here is a collection of feedback from students, lecturers and course staff to hopefully whet your appetite to enroll in the self-paced version of our MOOC due to launch on July 1!
Thousands of students from around the world participated in Denial101x and many of them put a pin on a map:
We received videos from students across the world sharing their experience with and perspective about Denial101. Here is a compilation of them:
Dr. Keah Schuenemann - one of our MOOC's lecturers - published a blog-post about her experience. It starts with the students' video feedback followed by this :
Keah also created a playlist containing all her lectures: Heat Waves, Wavy Jet Stream, Sea Level Rise, Extreme Weather, Weather vs Climate models, Water Vapor Amplifies Warming, and IPCC Underestimates:
Posted on 2 December 2014 by BaerbelW &
Shortly after 97 Hours of Consensus had been successfully completed, we received an email from the Turkey-based blog Out for Beyond enquiring if they could create translated versions for the quotes. Obviously, we were quite happy with this chance to increase the project’s reach even further!
The Out for Beyond team quickly started to translate the quotes while we prepared the Skeptical Science website in order to eventually host the “dubbed” cartoons. Once they became available, the translations were proofread by a colleague of mine in Germany and given a big thumbs-up for their quality.
The first finished quote was the one for Michael Mann (who knew that he is fluent in Turkish?):
In an effort to raise awareness in Turkey about climate change, Out for Beyond is publishing the quotes on their blog while COP20 in Lima is happening. The plan is to publish one quote per hour from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm each day, making this campaign stretch out for almost the complete duration of COP20. Please visit Out for Beyond to follow their project!
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