-- R.G. Menzies
LIBERTARIAN/CONSERVATIVE DIGEST AND COMMENTARY FROM AN ACADEMIC PSYCHOLOGIST in Brisbane, Australia. My academic publications are widely read
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The crook Cook again
John Cook is a bald-faced liar and I would be delighted if he sues me for saying so. He trots out below the old 97% myth when his own research showed that two thirds (66.4%) of climate scientists TOOK NO POSITION on global warming, which is what any skeptic would do in the present climate of censuring and censoring dissent. The only 97% consensus was among the one third who DID take a position.
Check it for yourself. The abstract of his paper says: "We find that 66.4% of abstracts expressed no position on AGW". Anybody who can read can see what a crook Cook is -- just from his own writings
Cook does however make an interesting admission below. He says that discussing the climate facts is unlikely to persuade people of global warming, which is right. There are NO scientific facts which unambiguously support global warming. It's only a focus on that bogus 97% that might win people over
I live only about 15 minutes drive away from where John Cook works so I challenged him to meet me and discuss global warming in person. He agreed. But when I asked if he minded me recording our conversation, I heard no more from him. He knows that his claims cannot stand the light of uncensored publicity
Communicating climate change is hard. Debunking climate myths is even harder.
Take it from me, I’ve spent the last decade researching climate communication and the psychology of misinformation. So let me express my expert opinion on a Jimmy Kimmel comedy segment on climate change.
It’s one of the better pieces of climate communication I’ve encountered.
Not everyone agrees. Scientist/filmmaker Randy Olsen has criticised Kimmel for giving free attention to climate denialist Marc Morano. Olsen does have a point. Morano scores a win by getting mainstream TV attention. But there’s a bigger picture here. The main winner on the night is public perception of scientific consensus.
The average person has no idea just how strong the scientific agreement on climate change is. Multiple studies have found 97% agreement among climate scientists that humans are causing global warming. In contrast, only 12% of Americans are aware that the consensus is over 90%.
Why the huge gap between public perception of consensus and the 97% reality? Part of the answer goes back nearly two decades. In the late 1990s, a Republican pollster Frank Luntz wrote a now infamous memo, advising Republicans to maintain doubt about the level of scientific agreement on climate change. Luntz’s market research had identified that what people thought about expert opinion affected other views on climate change.
It turns out Luntz was ahead of his time in identifying the psychological importance of perceived consensus. Scientific studies from 2011, 2013 and 2015 have identified perceived consensus as a “gateway belief”, influencing a range of attitudes about climate change including support for climate policy.
As a result, social scientists have urged climate scientists to set the record straight on scientific consensus. As far as climate communication messages go, this one is relatively straightforward. You don’t need to explain the mechanism of the greenhouse effect or the nuances of the carbon cycle (although those are good to explain if you get the opportunity). To effectively communicate the reality of climate change, you just need to mention that 97% of climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming.
So Kimmel nails it. His approach is entirely consistent with the advice of communication experts. My guess is this is probably due to his instincts as a professional comedian rather than a thorough familiarity with the psychological literature on consensus messaging.
Either way, along with President Obama, John Oliver, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and Bernie Sanders, Kimmel has provided another valuable contribution to closing the consensus gap.
By JR on Thursday, May 12, 2016
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