Climate Change Deniers Not to Be Swayed by Science

Climate Change

Climate change deniers now have leverage according to recent reports that a major academic journal has suppressed the findings of a study that would sway readers’ previously held views on the actual rate of climate change. The same journal, the Environmental Research Letters, was criticized last year for endorsing an article that stated 97 percent of climate change reports agree with the hypothesis that the change is anthropogenic, or human caused. The criticism levied at the journal brings up an important component of the argument between deniers and assenters, one that has been highlighted in numerous studies this year: deniers are not typically swayed by the scientific evidence supporting climate change. In the interest of inciting the public’s pro-environmental reaction to climate change reports, scientists have taken the steps to ascertain what influences are at play behind climate change deniers.

One such study this January out of WIREs Climate Change, a journal that emphasizes the importance of interdisciplinary research, has found that divergent beliefs about climate change have more to due with one’s values than with scientific research. According to the study’s findings, this is supported by “the degree of political polarization” that surrounds the issue of climate change. It is worth noting that the study in question understands “values” in the abstract to be akin one’s worldview, which can thereby be measured according to one’s political affiliation or political ideology.

This is significant in terms of climate engagement, namely, the likelihood that an individual or group will take action based on the science behind climate change, because it binds action with one’s values, not scientific evidence. This assessment is built upon people’s beliefs about what is referred to as “emergent attitude objects.” Essentially, people will formulate their attitude about an emergent object (in this instance, climate change) based on their perception of how the issue affects their personal values, the study said. Also at play in emergent attitude objects is how an individual sways on a scale of altruism versus self-promotion.

Nature Climate Change published a study that similarly found there to be a disconnect between climate change deniers and scientific evidence. The study corroborated the findings that beliefs about climate change tend to be more ideologically driven, but added that pro-environmental action on behalf of deniers is not a lost cause. The study concluded that people are more likely to engage in pro-environmental action, whether it is on a personal or a legislative level, if they are convinced that it is in the best interest of the community at large. Positive societal effects are better motivating factors for action than scientific research, according to the study. The sway is about society, not science.

What these studies show is that climate change deniers are not going to undergo any type of conversion based on scientific findings that support climate change. However, gaucheries such as the one made by Environmental Research Letters give deniers more ground on which to stand.

The research done by WIREs Climate Change and Nature’s Climate Change journals suggests that the best tactical approach for inciting pro-environmental action is to address it from a stance that highlights its societal benefits rather than its justification in scientific fact. Emphasis on society at large has more sway on deniers than does the underlying science.

By Courtney Anderson

Springer Link
Wiley Online
The Telegraph UK

9 Responses to "Climate Change Deniers Not to Be Swayed by Science"

  1. Joe ThePimpernel   May 21, 2014 at 7:14 am

    Climate “science” is not science, because climate “science” does not employ the scientific method.

    And “consensus” of non-scientific “scientists” is mob rule.

  2. Bill Butler   May 18, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    The author of the article is apparently “Ignorant,” and/or “Out of Touch,” and/or “Crazy” ( ) when it comes to awareness of the 97% consensus.

    “Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities, and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position.”

  3. jfreed27   May 18, 2014 at 5:27 am

    Coal pollution costs U.S. $300-$500 billion per year (Harvard School of Medicine, MIT), twice the oil money earned by the Saudis. Unfortunately the Saudis have a major holding in Fox News and sway the reporting to dis climate science.

  4. PeterK   May 18, 2014 at 3:17 am


    “…now that climate change has become an obvious everyday reality all over the world.”

    Could you enlighten me as to what are the ‘obvious everyday reality all over the world’.

    I see weather day in, day out. It varies considerably and nothing that has happened hasn’t happened in the past. There will always be extremes. So what, deal with it as it comes or as they say “Go with the flow.”

    • SenseWillPrevail   May 18, 2014 at 12:47 pm

      Weather isn’t climate. I was I’ll once because I drank too much and once because a restaurant gave me food poisoning. Two extreme illnesses, two different reasons. Because you’ve seen a flood or a drought in the past doesn’t mean the many simultaneous floods and droughts aren’t unusual and very serious.

      • R James   May 18, 2014 at 8:27 pm

        I have to agree – observing normal weather fluctuations says nothing about climate. Having said that, there’s no evidence based on real data that suggests we are experiencing an unusual change in climate. Climate change certainly isn’t an “obvious everyday reality”. Nor would anyone notice a temperature increase of 0.8 degC over 160 years.

  5. Joe B Mashunkashey   May 17, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    Black Hawk said; “How smooth must be the language of the whites, when they can make right look like wrong, and wrong like right”. I’m just fearful we are taking up the “language” of which Black Hawk talked about.

  6. lesliegraham1   May 17, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    The paper was rejected (like 70% of all papers submitted) because it had “serious scientific errors”. And this was months BEFORE the author joined the anti-science propaganda group in the UK.
    This latest transparant BS from the Denial Industry merely serves to illustrate their increasing desperation now that climate change has become an obvious everyday reality all over the world.

  7. brock2118   May 17, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Too bad that if you come up with data opposing the “consensus” you would be hustled off the reservation like Bengtssen.

    The current scientific community reminds you very much of TD Lysenko.


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