Understanding Climate-Change Skepticism: Its Sources and Strategies

Monday, February 22, 2010: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Room 11A (San Diego Convention Center)
Accumulated scientific evidence, compiled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), suggests that global warming is occurring and that human activities are a major contributing factor. Yet, even as the science supporting anthropogenic climate change (ACC) becomes stronger and more consensual, ACC remains highly controversial in the public and policy-making domains -- especially in the United States. This symposium addresses a major contributor to this anomaly, the success of contrarian scientists and other key actors in promoting climate-change skepticism throughout society. Panelists will examine the roles of the fossil fuel industry, conservative think tanks, and contrarian scientists (and their interconnections) in challenging the reality and significance of ACC, as well as the complex set of forces that appear to motivate their respective efforts. Special attention will be given to how contrarian scientists and those who help promote their views have largely managed to bypass peer-reviewed scientific journals in successfully disseminating “outlier” positions on ACC. The empirically based presentations will illuminate the factors that breed climate-change skepticism and give it considerable credibility, particularly but not exclusively in the United States. Besides helping explain why the United States has been a laggard in terms of climate change policy-making, the symposium will illustrate the difficulties of providing scientific input for societal debate and decision-making.
Riley E. Dunlap, Oklahoma State University
Stephen H. Schneider, Stanford University
and Naomi Oreskes, University of California
William R. Freudenburg, University of California
Use of Scientific Certainty Argumentation Methods in Climate Debates
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