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A Blind Expert Test of Contrarian Claims about Climate Data

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-97
Number of pages7
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
Volume39
Early online date12 May 2016
DOIs
DateAccepted/In press - 29 Apr 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print - 12 May 2016
DatePublished (current) - Jul 2016

Abstract

Although virtually all experts agree that CO2 emissions are causing anthropogenic global warming, public discourse is replete with contrarian claims that either deny that global warming is happening or dispute a human influence. Although the rejection of climate science is known to be driven by ideological, psychological, and political factors rather than scientific disagreement, contrarian views have considerable prominence in the media. A better understanding of contrarian discourse is therefore called for. We report a blind expert test of contrarian claims about climatological variables. Expert economists and statisticians were presented with representative contrarian statements (e.g., “Arctic ice is recovering”) translated into an economic or demographic context. In that blind test, contrarian claims were found to be misleading. By contrast, mainstream scientific interpretations of the data were judged to be accurate and policy relevant. The results imply that media inclusion of contrarian statements may increase bias rather than balance.

    Structured keywords

  • Cognitive Science
  • Memory

    Research areas

  • Climate change, Climate change denial, Public discourse about climate change

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  • GECLskyetalInpress

    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Elsevier at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378016300577

    Accepted author manuscript, 435 KB, PDF document

  • LskyGECBlindTestOSM

    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Elsevier at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378016300577

    Other version, 1018 KB, PDF document

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