Climate Change

Misinformation and Denial

Arguing with Science

97 percent of climate scientists believe that climate change is occurring (Nuccitelli). All major science institutes and large scientific groups agree; humans are causing climate change (Lewandowsky). Yet even while science agrees, the public does not. Why then, if science has proven that humans are causing climate change, do so many people not believe that we are causing it? Even worse, some people still believe that climate change does not exist. Science says it exists, right? So why doesn't the public think the same?

Why Would Someone Belive Climate Change doesn't Exist?

There are two main answers to this question. The first deals with why someone would't believe in climate change even if it is proven to exist. This is because people will reject an idea if it would negatively impact their life. Accepting that climate change is real could impact a person's life; if they didn't believe it existed, they wouldn't have to cut down on fuel emissions or such (Lewandowsky). An even bigger factor in this is that people's attitudes affect how they process information. If they are biased against it (highly likely, due to politics) they will often reject the idea.

SThe second answer is based around not knowing the facts, or, at least, the right ones. Misinformation about climate change is funded by corporations and billionaires, and serves to generally confuse the public. Actually, several of the same people that argued against tobacco causing cancer are contributing to what is known as the Climate Change Disinformation Campaign. The campaign challenges the science of climate change in hope of convincing the public that the debate over whether climate change is real or not has not yet been settled within the scientific community (Nadeau). However, the debate within science is virtually over. Just to illustrate this, out of a survey of almost 14,000 scientific, peer-reviewed articles, only 24 rejected the idea of human-caused climate change (Nuccitelli). Now it really is pretty hard to argue against that.