For years, when people ask me how to fight back against this or that climate denial myth, I’ve directed them to my videos, but also to John Cook’s Skeptical Science website – hands down the most useful, easiest to use, and authoritative debunking site on the web.
I’ve learned an awful lot about climate by studying the lies, misinformation, and disinformation of the climate denial industry. In finding the right answers, and tracking down the best sources of information, you find your way through the thicket and end up with a serviceable knowledge of the millenium’s most important issue.
Now there’s a MOOC – Massive Online Open Course – designed by the Skeptical Science team, with the precise aim of arming thousands, or millions, of students, with the best information needed to shoot down climate denial in media, online, from politicians, or at the dinner table.
The course coordinator is John Cook, University of Queensland Global Change Institute climate communication fellow, and founder of the climate science myth debunking website Skeptical Science. Cook’s research has primarily focused on the psychology of climate science denial. As he explains,
97% of climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming; however, less than half of Australians are aware of humanity’s role in climate change, while half of the US Senate has voted that humans aren’t causing global warming. This free course explains why there is such a huge gap between the scientific community and the public. Our course looks at what’s driving climate science denial and the most common myths about climate change.
The course includes climate science and myth debunking lectures by the international team of volunteer scientific contributors to Skeptical Science, including myself, and interviews with many of the world’s leading climate science and psychology experts. Making Sense of Climate Science Denial is a seven-week program featuring interviews with 75 scientific experts, including Sir David Attenborough, Katharine Hayhoe, Richard Alley, Michael Mann, and Naomi Oreskes.
The course incorporates lessons in both climate science and psychology to explain the most common climate myths and to detail how to respond to them. Research has shown that myth debunking is most effective when people understand why the myth originated in the first place. For example, cherry picking (focusing on a small bit of convenient data and ignoring the rest) is one of the most common fallacies behind climate science myths.
The lectures in the University of Queensland MOOC not only explain the science, but also the fallacies underpinning each myth. This is a unique and important feature to this course, because understanding their origins effectively acts to inoculate people against myths.
April 22, 2015
UPDATED: with White House video
April 22, 2015
It’s good to be POTUS.
President Barack Obama took a shot at Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) on his own turf Wednesday afternoon. In a speech that was televised by Al Jazeera America but none of the major cable news networks, the president made his case for taking action on climate change from a location that he said will face some of the harshest consequences: Everglades National Park in South Florida.
Earlier this year, rumors began swirling that Gov. Scott had banned state workers from using the words “climate change” in any official correspondence, leading at least one employee for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to be reprimanded and put on leave for including the term in a report. As Jon Stewart included in a Daily Showsegment on the controversy last month, employees were told to refer to sea level rise as “nuisance flooding.”
Describing climate change as a “bipartisan” issue, Obama said that people all over the country know “simply refusing to say the words ‘climate change’ doesn’t mean that climate change isn’t happening,” laughing as he made the remarks and drawing applause. “If you’ve got a coming storm, you don’t stick your head in the sand, you prepare for the storm.”
“Protecting the one planet we’ve got is what we have to do for the next generation,” Obama continued, saying he wants his grandchildren — “a long time from now” — to enjoy the Everglades just like those who lived before them.
My video on Florida Sea Level reported the “climate change” ban 4 months before it hit the mainstream media:
April 22, 2015
It comes at the very end.
Show this to Uncle Dittohead and Aunt Teabag next time you hear “In the 1970s they worried about an Ice Age”.
Interesting sociological note – the cautionary notes about this then-wildly popular political initiative seem to come mostly from the left – in concerns that our worries about pollution will overtake drives for social justice, and against poverty, etc.
See more on the “70s Ice Age” crock below.
April 22, 2015
April 22, 1998: The paper “Global-scale temperature patterns and climate forcing over the past six centuries,” by Michael E. Mann, Raymond S. Bradley and Malcolm K. Hughes, is published in the journal Nature.
The interview above was one of the historic interviews we conducted in December at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco.
This material is now all part of John Cook’s MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on climate denial and climate science.
Below, for those interested, the whole “Hockey Stick” story. Read the rest of this entry »
April 21, 2015
If you’re among the holdouts who cling to their incandescent light bulbs like plastic eggs on Easter morning, you may want to loosen that grip. A new 60-watt equivalent LED bulb from Philips could be what finally convinces you to upgrade your lamps with a tiny dose of the future.
There are more capable and longer-lasting LEDs than the new Philips LED A16 bulbs, but you won’t find any that are cheaper. A single bulb, rated for ten years, will set you back $4.97 once they go on sale in May at Home Depot. That’s already a significant savings over Philips’ existing $9.97 60w equivalent, and in line with the most affordable options in the market. But what makes the new bulbs especially notable is that for the first three months they’re available, you’ll be able to get two bulbs for that same five bucks.
That is very cheap! It’s cheaper, in fact, than a two-pack of GED incandescent 60w bulbs that are roughly as bright and that last about one-tenth as long. Another fun point of comparison? The new Philips 60w has an estimated yearly energy cost of just $1.02, versus $7.23 for those same GE bulbs. For the lighting spec-trackers, it puts out 800 lumens, and will be available in both 2700k and 5000k color temperatures.
As LED lights have increasingly matched their incandescent counterparts in warmth, shape, and brightness, the last frontier of acceptance—aside from just good ol’ fashioned resistance to change—has been price. Over a long enough time horizon LEDs may end up saving you money, but it’s hard to see those benefits over the drug store (or in this case, hardware) aisle price tag. Philips hopes that $2.50 a pop will be low enough to allay any cost concerns, especially in low-stakes areas like your laundry room.
Below, historians will marvel at oddities such as Climate denier Michelle Bachmann and the “Lightbulb Freedom” Act. Read the rest of this entry »