Understanding and Countering Misinformation About Climate Change

Cook, John

While there is overwhelming scientific agreement on climate change, the public has become polarized over fundamental questions such as human-caused global warming. Communication strategies to reduce polarization rarely address the underlying cause: ideologically-driven misinformation. In order to effectively counter misinformation campaigns, scientists, communicators, and educators need to understand the arguments and techniques in climate science denial, as well as adopt evidence-based approaches to neutralizing misinforming content. This chapter reviews analyses of climate misinformation, outlining a range of denialist arguments and fallacies. Identifying and deconstructing these different types of arguments is necessary to design appropriate interventions that effectively neutralize the misinformation. This chapter also reviews research into how to counter misinformation using communication interventions such as inoculation, educational approaches such as misconception-based learning, and the interdisciplinary combination of technology and psychology known as technocognition.