Research reveals strategies for combating science misinformation

From EurekAlert!

Solutions to combat misinformation include public inoculation, financial transparency

Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

Just as the scientific community was reaching a consensus on the dangerous reality of climate change, the partisan divide on climate change began to widen.

That might seem like a paradox, but it’s also no coincidence, says Justin Farrell, a professor of sociology at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES). It was around this time that an organized network, funded by organizations with a lot to lose in a transition to a low-carbon economy, started to coalesce around the goal of undercutting the legitimacy of climate science.

Writing in the journal Nature Climate Change, Farrell and two co-authors illustrate how a large-scale misinformation campaign has eroded public trust in climate science and stalled efforts to achieve meaningful policy, but also how an emerging field of research is providing new insights into this critical dynamic.

In the paper, they identify potential strategies to confront these misinformation campaigns across four related areas — public inoculation, legal strategies, political mechanisms, and financial transparency. Other authors include Kathryn McConnell, a Ph.D. student at F&ES, and Robert Brulle at Brown University.

“Many people see these efforts to undermine science as an increasingly dangerous challenge and they feel paralyzed about what to do about it,” said Farrell, the lead author of the paper. “But there’s been a growing amount of research into this challenge over the past few years that will help us chart out some solutions.”

A meaningful response to these misinformation campaigns must include a range of coordinated strategies that counter false content as it is produced and disseminated, Farrell said. But it will also require society to confront the institutional network that enables the spread of this misinformation in the first place.

In the paper, they examine those strategies across the four identified areas:

  • Public inoculation: While a growing body of research shows that an individual’s perceptions of science are informed by “cultural cognition” — and thus influenced by their preexisting ideologies and value systems — there is evidence that society can “inoculate” against misinformation by exposing people to refuted scientific arguments before they hear them, much like one can prevent infection through the use of vaccines. This strategy can be strengthened by drawing more attention to the sources of misinformation, and thus similarly build up resistance to their campaigns.
  • Legal strategies: Research has also shown the extent to which some industry leaders tied to the climate misinformation network knowingly misled the public about the dangers of climate change. In response, cities and states in the U.S. and U.K. have filed lawsuits alleging that fossil fuel companies, such as ExxonMobil, downplayed the risks of their products. While such lawsuits can be expensive and time-consuming, media coverage has the potential to influence public opinion and “perhaps to further inoculate the public about industry efforts to deliberately mislead them.” The authors also describe how an improved understanding of these networks has helped in the legal defense of climate scientists who have come under attack for their research.
  • Political mechanisms: The authors argue that more social science research is needed in order to reveal and better understand how the political process is often manipulated. For instance, they identify a case in which the energy company Entergy Corporation acknowledged hiring a PR firm that in turn paid actors who posed as grassroots supporters of a controversial power plant in New Orleans. They suggest targeted efforts in geographic areas where skepticism of climate change is widespread, including promotion of stronger media coverage of candidate views on climate science, clearer understanding of funding sources, and lawsuits highlighting the effects of climate change in these areas.
  • Financial transparency: A growing share of funding for campaigns that promote science misinformation comes from donor-directed foundations that shield the contributor’s identity from the public; in fact, financial giving from these groups quadrupled in the past decade, topping $100 million. While it is often difficult to identify the flow of dollars, nonpartisan organizations tracking money in politics have become important resources for researchers who seek to understand this dynamic. The authors call for new legislation to improve funding transparency.

“We’re really just at the tip of the iceberg in terms of understanding the full network of actors and how they’re moving money in these efforts,” said McConnell, a co-author. “The better we can understand how these networks work, the better the chances that policymakers will be able to create policy that makes a difference.”

These strategies must be coordinated in order to be effective, the authors conclude. For instance, they write, “public inoculation and legal strategies depend on improved financial transparency, just as financial transparency can similarly be strengthened by legal strategies that are themselves dependent on continued research into the financial and ideological sources of misinformation.”

“Ultimately we have to get to the root of the problem, which is the huge imbalance in spending between climate change opponents and those lobbying for new solutions,” said Farrell. “Those interests will always be there, of course, but I’m hopeful that as we learn more about these dynamics things will start to change. I just hope it’s not too late.”


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
January 15, 2019 6:02 am

Assuming, of course, that this study isn’t science misinformation. 😉

Reply to  PaulH
January 15, 2019 7:25 am

It’s not science, not even close.

… cities and states in the U.S. and U.K. have filed lawsuits alleging that fossil fuel companies, such as ExxonMobil, downplayed the risks of their products.

These people are disconnected from reality. What do they think happens when the lawsuits invariably lose? The public concludes that CAGW is not a problem, that’s what. Suggesting that lawsuits will educate the public to believe in CAGW is, perhaps literally, insane.

Rich Davis
Reply to  commieBob
January 15, 2019 7:43 am

A call for more effective EurekAganda! Maybe the time has come to be less concerned about facts and start using fear more?

Herr Goebbels was a rank amateur.

Curious George
Reply to  Rich Davis
January 15, 2019 8:44 am

A lie repeated a thousand times becomes the truth. They just repeated it once more. Sooner or later they hope to win – and they are winning.

UK Sceptic
Reply to  Curious George
January 15, 2019 9:52 am

We’re having a similar fight over in the UK with Brexit. Anti-Brexit Project Fear 2.0 is ramping up exponentially as March 29th rapidly approaches. Even if May loses her “meaningful vote” the PTB are trying their darnedest to overturn the Referendum that led to a leave the EU result by attempting to block a “No Deal – leave on WTO terms” exit when May’s bad deal, that will tie the UK to the EU forever, fails.

Reply to  Curious George
January 16, 2019 2:01 am

Doesn’t look like they are winning. Between 10/10 fail, the propaganda machine being turned to other priorities (mostly #OrangeManBad, at which it still fails), Orange Man removing some support from them, Yellow Jackets, etc.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Rich Davis
January 15, 2019 9:54 pm

Eurekawhatever, I’m going to have to search harder for anybody I know that actually goes there. Does anybody know what the readership numbers actually are and what segment of the global populace they represent? I wonder if we are tilting at windmills ourselves here.

Reply to  PaulH
January 15, 2019 8:09 am

This sounds like a plan to implement state and academic propaganda and crush any dissenting arguments. China’s communist education and programing techniques may be a good template for the “public inoculation” described in step 1. Of course it also calls for more money for sociologists to study the issue.

Komrade Kuma
Reply to  Jim
January 15, 2019 9:10 am

Professors of sociology do not have any particular insight into climate science and just start with the premise that the ‘science is settled’ and then drivel out their socio babble from there.

How about

‘That might seem like a paradox, but it’s also no coincidence that around this time that an organized network, funded by organizations with a lot to gain in a transition to a low-carbon economy, started to coalesce around the goal of overstating the legitimacy of climate science.’

John in Oz
Reply to  Komrade Kuma
January 15, 2019 12:43 pm

It was around this time that an organized network, funded by organizations with a lot to lose gain in a transition to a low-carbon economy, started to coalesce around the goal of undercutting reinforcing with bullshitthe legitimacy of climate science.

They start with the assumption that only the CAGW ‘science is correct and go downhill from there.

Reply to  PaulH
January 15, 2019 9:09 am

I find it interesting that the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies requires a team of sociologists. The climate science, in and of itself, is not compelling enough on its own? The smacks of propaganda.

Reply to  PaulH
January 15, 2019 9:52 am

Farrell and co-authors have produced nonsense, without a shred of evidence to back up their claims. They start with a falsehood, and then proceed to opine about it. Utter drivel!


“Climate change” is rarely if ever defined – it is a deliberately vague statement, not even a hypothesis, because it can mean everything and nothing. It is obvious from past ice ages that climate has always changed.

The great minds of our age have stated that you cannot disprove a vague hypothesis:
“A theory that is not refutable by any conceivable event is non-scientific.” – Karl Popper.
“By having a vague theory, it’s possible to get either result.” – Richard Feynman

The “Climate Change” (aka “Wilder Weather”) hypothesis is so vague and changes so often that it is not falsifiable. It has been defined as warmer and colder; less snow and more snow; more windstorms and less windstorms – it must be rejected as unscientific nonsense.


The Catastrophic Man-made Global Warming hypothesis is falsifiable, and has been falsified:

1. By the ~32-year global cooling period from ~1945 to ~1977, even as fossil fuel combustion and atmospheric CO2 strongly increased;
2. By “The Pause”, when temperature did not significantly increase for about two decades, despite increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations;
3. By the absence of runaway global warming over geologic time, despite much higher CO2 concentrations than at present;
4. A hypothetical doubling of CO2 from the so-called “pre-industrial” level of approx. 280ppm to 560ppm would cause AT MOST about 1C of global warming (Christy and McNider 2017, Lewis and Curry 2018) , such that any credible humanmade warming predictions would NOT be dangerous, but would be net-beneficial for humanity and the environment.
5. The only conclusive evidence is that increasing atmospheric CO2 is hugely beneficial for the environment and humanity, due to greatly increasing plant and crop yields.

In conclusion, there is no credible evidence of dangerous man-made global warming driven by increasing atmospheric CO2, and ample evidence to the contrary.

Regards, Allan

January 15, 2019 1:12 pm

I did chase down the actual “report” (there’s not a link in this article, nor in the EurekaAlert! article, I had to go search for it), and found it in “Articles” in the Nature Climate Change online magazine, and skimmed it, it says all the same B.S. only in more detail, then I scanned the references and all were other articles. So there was no “Research” involved, no actual data was collected nor harmed in the making of this article, not even searched for! So, yeah, nothing to add to your proof!

Charles Higley
Reply to  PaulH
January 15, 2019 8:51 pm

It the same as the Fake News concept. They label the truth as Fake News, thinking that pointing a finger at it first and calling the truth Fake News makes it false.

So, here they point at good science and real data and call it misinformation, which leads the citizen to think that, just because they were the first to point their finger and call real data misinformation, that makes the real data also false.

The pot calling the kettle black when the kettle is really white, but unless the citizen observer is in the room to see that the kettle is actually white, it gets believed. The citizen has to do due diligence, which is what the pot seriously does not want.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Charles Higley
January 15, 2019 9:21 pm

You said, “… just because they were the first to point their finger and call real data misinformation…”
This comes under their strategy of “Public Inoculation.” They seem to be trying out their approach to see it it sticks to anything.

Rhys Jaggar
Reply to  PaulH
January 16, 2019 8:45 am

The amount of money spent by warmists is orders of magnitude higher than that spent by skeptics. The warmists spends tens of billions a year.

Mike H
January 15, 2019 6:06 am

Public trust in climate science has been eroded by alarmists seeking to silence any dissent from the narrative. This is merely the authors searching for ways to amplify their messaging and to combat those who do not completely buy into that message. Nothing more than authoritarian, self-serving claptrap.

Bob Cherba
January 15, 2019 6:21 am

“Ultimately we have to get to the root of the problem, which is the huge imbalance in spending between climate change opponents and those lobbying for new solutions,” . . .

Amazing statement. The pro-warmists only have money from all the goverments on earth, and billions in donations to dozens of “environmental” groups. Then there’s all the MSM, except possibly Fox — and they’ve been shakey lately. The fossil fuel companies have also donated and spend millions on the “green” message. Almost forgot, nearly all the schools and universities on earth push the climate apocalypse and a scientist can end a career by bucking the warmist message — or even questioning it.

Most of the skeptics I read regularly are either self-funded or living on meager donations. And the amount of money Heartland spends on their climate efforts is small.

The authors of this study are not in touch with reality.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Bob Cherba
January 15, 2019 6:46 am

“The authors of this study are not in touch with reality.”

No, but they are on message.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
January 15, 2019 8:17 am

“The authors of this study are not in touch with reality.”

But, their bank accounts are.

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
January 15, 2019 10:35 am


Roger Knights
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
January 15, 2019 10:02 am

“The authors of this study are not in touch with reality.”

“What is reality?” said jesting Pilate (and a horde of deconstructionists).

Steve Reddish
Reply to  Bob Cherba
January 15, 2019 9:09 am

Actually, they are correct about the imbalance of funds spent, it just goes the other way from what they are trying to imply. I say “imply” because they don’t actually make any claim as to which side is spending, or receiving more. This tells me they know which way the imbalance truly goes. If it went the way they imply, they would be willing to support their statement with some data.


Roger Knights
Reply to  Steve Reddish
January 15, 2019 9:54 am

They probably think contrarians get ten times more money than they do, because they’ve been misled by claims by green NGOs (e.g., Greenpeace) that phrase the amount thusly: “Climate change-denying organizations received *** hundred million dollars per year for the last ten years.” This framing insinuates the untruth that all that money goes to the contrarian cause, although at mkost 10% of it does. That’s because organizations like Cato, CEI, etc. have lots on their plates besides the climate change issue.

A little critical thinking, or a little reading of skeptical material, would have prevented this misstep by the two authors. Instead, they’ve promulgated the falsehood.

Maybe society needs innoculation against Ivy League sociologists.

January 15, 2019 6:22 am

““Ultimately we have to get to the root of the problem, which is the huge imbalance in spending between climate change opponents and those lobbying for new solutions,” said Farrell. “?
Now that is almost funny….. : )

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Marcus
January 15, 2019 6:55 am

It’s true, though. The CC lobby gets orders of magnitude more cash than skeptics. The quoted statement didn’t say which way the imbalance was tilted.

Robert Davis
January 15, 2019 6:25 am

“Justin Farrell, a professor of sociology at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES).”
Sociology =Subjective drivel.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Robert Davis
January 15, 2019 7:18 am

The school of Forestry is contaminated by sociology professors?

Greg Cavanagh
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
January 15, 2019 1:16 pm

Perhaps they talk to the trees?

John Robertson
Reply to  Greg Cavanagh
January 15, 2019 7:47 pm

Or worse,did not Gang Green come out with some mush about a year ago, about intercourse with trees?
Sexual that is.

Reply to  Robert Davis
January 15, 2019 7:50 am

Sounds like JF thinks AGW sceptics should be subjected (forcibly?) to a program of ‘re-education’,to align them with ‘correct’ thinking i.e his.

Reply to  Robert Davis
January 15, 2019 10:14 am

Nature did put this under “Article”. A quick look at their “References” finds over half are other Articles, with some “EPA Proposed Rule-Making” as published in the Federal Register, and a few news reports about Pruitt instituting the no-secret-science rule. So, yeah, 100% fact-free “Science”. But since it appeared in Nature Climate Change, an alleged Science magazine, the brainless MSM (or should that be LSM, for Lame-Stream Media?) will slobber over it and call it “Science!!!™” (see, the 3 exclamation points after the Science, that’s what makes it a TradeMark). Geez, does anyone wonder why I quit taking a newspaper and quit watching network news? Or pretty much any TV in general!

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Red94ViperRT10
January 15, 2019 5:16 pm

It’s basically an opinion piece.

Bill Walker P.E.
January 15, 2019 6:28 am

We have a great forum to expose and combat misinformation, it is”. We don’t need one run by acedemics that may have financial, social, political or other non-scientific objectives.

Matthew Drobnick
January 15, 2019 6:28 am

I read about halfway. There is only so much naked propaganda I can stomach before breakfast.
Thanks for providing me the opportunity to show people how the mind control tricks are employed.

Al Miller
January 15, 2019 6:31 am

This brings new meaning to the term “no shame”. The hypocrisy of the warmists remains at an astounding level both in the actions of it’s devotees, which are far too numerous to list, to ridiculously slanted and false articles such as shown above.

January 15, 2019 6:31 am

Yale is apparently using “1984” as a guide in writing this paper. If one considers that reality is nearly opposite to what they assert, then the paper makes perfect sense.

January 15, 2019 6:32 am

Repeat the Big Lie, over and over again. Until it runs through the publics thoughts with the slightest stimulus. Until the public don’t even question what proof there ever was of the statement.

Carbon is Pollution
Climate Change is a Crises
Extreme Weather is Getting Worse
Not Accepting the Climate Crises is Denying the Science
The Deniers are Well Funded by the Fossil Fuel Industry


Reply to  Schitzree
January 15, 2019 6:46 am

Yes they don’t consider the alternative reason being “101 stupid crazy claims about climate change”

So lets deal with some facts it is “an essay in the journal Nature Climate Change” not a paper itself and what does it reference yes our old lunatics

Citation: Cook J, Lewandowsky S, Ecker UKH (2017) Neutralizing misinformation through inoculation: Exposing misleading argumentation techniques reduces their influence.

So the usual psychology junk masquerading as science 🙂

AGW is not Science
Reply to  Schitzree
January 15, 2019 6:57 am

These are not the droids you’re looking for.

Greg Cavanagh
Reply to  AGW is not Science
January 15, 2019 1:19 pm

We are not the droids they are looking for.

January 15, 2019 6:44 am

Yet another conspiracy theory from minds closed to the possibility that their favorite horror-story might be exposed as a product of overheated imaginations.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
January 15, 2019 6:50 am

…no matter how many lies you catch them in

they are the victims

D Anderson
Reply to  Kip Hansen
January 15, 2019 7:00 am

I bet the Jews are to blame.

January 15, 2019 6:52 am

Funny. Science misinformation comes FROM places like Yale and people like academics.

Reply to  beng135
January 15, 2019 7:04 am

The author is from Yale and it is an opinion essay not a scientific paper … everyone is entitled to there opinion even if it is a conspiracy theory 🙂

Coach Springer
Reply to  LdB
January 15, 2019 7:24 am

Well, it’s billed as research. I would also note that most science papers (studies) these days are opinion essays based on possibly, potentially and open ended could.

And since when did respected institutions start going with anything goes opinion that spews blatant misinformation issued by Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies?

Phil R
Reply to  Coach Springer
January 15, 2019 9:31 am

No school that has to include “Studies” in their name should be part of an academic institution in the first place.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  LdB
January 15, 2019 8:20 am

Yes but they are not entitled to their own facts. Their facts include the laugh line that warmunist propaganda is being outspent by the skeptics.

Reply to  LdB
January 15, 2019 9:35 am

“We’re really just at the tip of the iceberg in terms of understanding the full network of actors and how they’re moving money in these efforts,” said McConnell

Doesn’t sound like they reveal anything except perhaps their fantasies.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Neo
January 15, 2019 7:57 pm

“We’re really just at the tip of the iceberg in terms of understanding the full network of actors ”

There is no network of actors. Just a few lone voices out in the wilderness.

The problem the alarmists have is not the skeptics per se, but the fact the alarmists have no evidence to back up their claims. Skeptics just point this out.

The easiest way to shut a skeptic up is to provide a little evidence to back up alarmist claims. How hard is that if the science is so settled? Alarmists ought to be inundating us with evidence, going by the certainty with which they make their scary CAGW claims. But when asked for evidence all the poor ole skeptics get is silence. And we all know why, because the alarmists have no evidence to provide. Speculation is not evidence. Assertions are not evidence. That’s all they have.

Skeptics aren’t the problem. No evidence of CAGW is the problem.

Robert Austin
Reply to  LdB
January 15, 2019 12:36 pm

When you and your institution purport to be learned and professional, expressing an opinion not based on fact is tantamount to lying. Academics and professionals must adhere to a higher standard than mere mortals.

January 15, 2019 6:56 am

Their strategy is likely effective. We should put it to better use. They seem to not notice that the narrative fits either foot.

Thomas Englert
Reply to  Rick
January 17, 2019 12:20 am

Especially the inoculation part.

January 15, 2019 6:58 am

ctm if you are around I would boldstrike the description as being a paper (implying science) the journal of nature quite clearly describes it as an essay which is what it is. Clearly there lefty article count was down this month and they needed to pad the mag a bit.

Andy Pattullo
January 15, 2019 6:58 am

This is religious thought, not science. At no point do they ever consider the need to go back and check the evidence for what they profess to believe. Nor do they feel the need for objective evidence to support the claims of a well funded conspiracy against the supposed science they say supports their beliefs. I doubt this is accidental. People love to believe things that allign with their outlook and will intentionally avoid any objective evidence that calls into question their belief. It shows how deeply immersed they are in their religion and how little insight they have into their own indoctrination. This is also a demonstration of how completely unscientific this charade is.

January 15, 2019 7:01 am

“We’re really just at the tip of the iceberg in terms of understanding the full network of actors and how they’re moving money in these efforts,” said McConnell, a co-author.

LOL, so they are just guessing, and contriving something out of … nothing. How did this bullcrap get published?

Reply to  climanrecon
January 15, 2019 7:06 am

It’s an opinion essay for the mag not a paper … ctm needs to change that.

Phil R
Reply to  LdB
January 15, 2019 9:35 am

It’s a news/publicity release. EurekAlert! has this disclaimer:

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

AGW is not Science
Reply to  climanrecon
January 15, 2019 7:09 am

Because the “journals” are mostly managed and controlled by the Eco-Nazis who will publish anything that promotes the “climate change” propaganda.

Rick C PE
Reply to  climanrecon
January 15, 2019 11:36 am

They are desperate to get the names of individuals and companies that contribute to conservative think tanks so that they can be attacked, demonized and boycotted.

AGW is not Science
January 15, 2019 7:04 am

The “large-scale misinformation campaign” is the one promoting the ridiculous notion of human-induced climate catastrophe. And the “funding” backing that campaign is orders of magnitude larger than the pittance of funding for those skeptical of the claims made by that misinformation campaign masquerading as “science.”

I think what they’re missing is that it takes a lot less resources to make your case when history, truth and logic are on your side, vs. propaganda like they are pushing, which requires a much more extensive and costly effort. If the real “funding” numbers are publicly disclosed, they will find themselves on the wrong side of the “corruption” argument, many times over.

Jeff in Calgary
Reply to  AGW is not Science
January 15, 2019 7:48 am

Just look at the conferences. CAGW proponents have multiple massive conferences each year at resort destinations. The skeptics have one small conference at a discount conference center. Just the travel budget for one CAGW conference is multiple times more costly then the cost of the entire skeptic conference.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
January 15, 2019 10:16 am

There was a skeptical mini-conference in Portugal this year, so that makes two. Still small beer.

January 15, 2019 7:10 am

In other words the ClimateGate email hack revealed cause for concern and appropriate digging for the truth while the global PR campaign picked up speed.

January 15, 2019 7:11 am

ditto to the Big Lie comments. When reading claptrap like this is it a surprise that social sciences are undergoing a reproduciblity crises. How would a competent researcher miss the billions of dollars invested in pushing climate alarm-ism. The answer is that they wouldn’t.

“Science” with it’s many known foibles is not the true star that citizens in a democratic society can rely on to make important decisions. That is a conceit of those who fancy themselves as scientists. Would these social scientists line up behind the overwhelming science showing that GMO’s are safe. Science is conducted by human beings. Humans have know issues with bias. That is a star you can set you course on.

January 15, 2019 7:13 am

Ultimately we have to get to the root of the problem, which is the huge imbalance in spending between climate change opponents and those lobbying for new solutions,

Yes, those lobbying for “new solutions” have budgets thousands of times larger than their opponents.

BTW, what the heck is a climate change opponent? Someone who doesn’t want the climate to change?

Reply to  MarkW
January 15, 2019 7:30 am

“BTW, what the heck is a climate change opponent?”

Possibly a Harry Potter type trying to hold back the storm with a wand and hocus pocus.
Hmmm, that sounds more like all public policy designed to mediate CC.

Ken Irwin
January 15, 2019 7:15 am

Guilty as charged – I’ve been undercutting consensus science for 13 years but strangely enough I do it using science.
To date I haven’t met a single person face to face who can put together a coherent scientific argument for AGW – I’m sure they are out there but I haven’t met one.
Everyone I have met who can argue coherently scientifically doesn’t buy into the AGW scam.

Since no one has paid me a dime and I have no interest either way – to whom do I send my bill for services rendered.

January 15, 2019 7:17 am

Research reveals how to market to or brainwash your enemy. Of course. Anything but accurate, reliable science should be used.

January 15, 2019 7:22 am

I recently heard a scientist say “There are no facts in science.” I took that to mean that every scientist should seek to disprove an accepted hypothesis. Another way of saying “consensus is not science.”
If you are seeking confirmation it is difficult not to ignore contrary evidence.
A scientist expounding alarmist hypothesis is not necessarily a bad scientist. He or she is simply protecting their turf while wearing blinders when they could be working to disprove evidence contrary to their claim.
Now another much-overused axiom, attack the message and not the messenger.

Reply to  Rick Kargaard
January 15, 2019 1:29 pm

Wouldn’t it be great if a scientist could publish a paper, carefully lay out his methods, and then in Conclusion: This didn’t work. I have falsified the hypothesis. Or even: This experiment as designed did not produce data supporting the hypothesis. Can you design a better experiment?

Alan Tomalty
January 15, 2019 7:22 am

Of course the weasels Stokes and Mosher won’t dare to comment on this. They know the real truth.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
January 15, 2019 9:12 pm

I’m as critical of those two as anyone here. However, I don’t think that the tone and universal accusation really contributes anything. Save your electrons for specific complaints or rebuttals.

William Astley
January 15, 2019 7:24 am

“When the debate is lost (William: Unaltered Temperature record does not support the theory), slander (William: and altering of the historic temperature record and fake models) becomes the instrument of the loser”

Why was there cooling rather than AGW warming from 1979 to 1997?
Why is there a ‘hiatus’/plateau (sic) in warming?

The plateau of warming is the reason why this scam has gone on so long. All of the real problems are on hold until there is cooling.

Changes to GISS data since 1999.

comment image

Coach Springer
January 15, 2019 7:27 am

That may be the most comprehensive guide on how to spread scientific misinformation conducted. To date./

January 15, 2019 7:32 am

Most people don’t give a cr@p about what scientists say because of what science has become. For instance:

* butter is bad for you; margarine is good. no wait, margarine is bad for you; butter is good.
* eggs are bad because of cholesterol. no wait egg cholesterol is good cholesterol.
* low fat, high carb diet is good for you. no wait, hi carb diet makes people obese
* and on and on and on… Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

January 15, 2019 7:35 am

“Political mechanisms: The authors argue that more social science research is needed in order to reveal and better understand how the political process is often manipulated.”

The usual boiler plate about more funding for research. In plain language they are asking for more funding for themselves. How truly arrogantly blind these people are. They really seem to believe or maybe just hope that the great unwashed are not smart enough to understand obvious self dealing. Where did their funding come from?

Phillip Bratby
January 15, 2019 7:39 am

Once you read “scientific community was reaching a consensus” you know the rest is garbage. Consensus has nothing to do with science.

Jeff in Calgary
January 15, 2019 7:40 am

It was around this time that an organized network, funded by organizations with a lot to lose in a transition to a low-carbon economy, started to coalesce around the goal of undercutting the legitimacy of climate science.

This has become a statement of faith within the CAGW community. However, it is the farthest thing from the truth. The primary driver of CAGW Skepticism is grass roots web pages like WUWT, not some well funded highly organized conspiracy. All the groups they point at (e.g. big oil etc.) all have gotten onto the CAGW train because they see the hug financial upside when governments are handing out cash.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
January 15, 2019 10:30 am

Hey, Yalies, check this out:

“Notes From Skull Island – why climate skeptics aren’t ‘well funded and well organized’” Guest post by Roger Knights
If our side were well funded and well organized, as warmists charge, it would have the following 22 characteristics–which it doesn’t.

January 15, 2019 8:00 am

I dug a little to find out exactly who was behind this “organized network, funded by organizations with a lot to lose in a transition to a low-carbon economy.” Sounds pretty nefarious. Seems that the details are paywalled. Looks like this press release is the real misinformation.

Jeff in Calgary
Reply to  Bob
January 15, 2019 8:10 am

The only people with “a lot to loose in a transition to a low-carbon economy” are you and me. The middle class workers. When costs of everything go up, our standard of living goes down. The ‘poor’ get more government handouts (at our cost), and the wealthy have enough extra cash to easily absorbed these new costs.

As far as well organized and highly funded, that is another of their big lies.

Ronald Havelock
Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
January 15, 2019 10:58 am

No, the big losers are the third world countries that should be building coal-fired power plants to bring electrification to their people. The World Bank has abandoned its role of assisting development by denying help on this and peddling wind mills and solar panels. This policy is stupid and cruel. Shame on them!!

Greg Cavanagh
Reply to  Ronald Havelock
January 15, 2019 1:35 pm

China is stepping in, in place of the world bank. China is building many coal fired power stations in third world countries, for future return of favour of course.

The third world aren’t losers here, it is the working middle class who are being used and abused.

Even if you consider that the third world doesn’t get the money promised them, or the infrastructure built for them. They aren’t losing what they do have, they are losing what is being promised as a gift to them. Not a real loss as the workers who earn a living, are losing their wages to a rort.

January 15, 2019 8:07 am

“Public inoculation: While a growing body of research shows that an individual’s perceptions of science are informed by “cultural cognition” — and thus influenced by their preexisting ideologies and value systems”

Yep, that’s me. I’ve been a science nerd since I was 6 or 7. In my neighborhood I was the go to kid for c]science information from helping scouts with science related merit badges to making up science related scenarios when playing with discarded refrigerator boxes/space ships. Graduated, with honors in Physics from UC Berkeley. I went into computers but continued to follow science. My “preexisting ideology and value system” values science, actual science and I know false science when I see it.

George Daddis
Reply to  Jim Whelan
January 15, 2019 8:54 am

They are apparently too blind to see that that quote quite accurately describes the state of young adults who have been indoctrinated with emotion and fear during their elementary and high school years concerning the climate, with virtually NO science to back up the basic assumptions upon which that climate hysteria has been based.

It gets worse at the collegiate level where at first programs and now entire schools within a university assume the alarmism is correct (e.g. George Mason University Center for Climate Communication) whose sole purpose is to produce useful idiots who then write drivil like this.

January 15, 2019 8:20 am

and then this piece of cheap toilet paper will join the 97% consensus jumbo pack on sale at the local shopping club.

but wait there’s more…. it’s a peer reviewed pile of BS that codifies as real science the idiocy that the nebulous concept of science denial is funded by nefarious carbon sources. Now the parrots can cite it. Good grief.

The climate machine is a Frankenstein monster minus the intellect.

January 15, 2019 8:25 am

A new claim to laugh at
I checked antarctic temperatures yesterday. It is midsummer but I could not find any spot where temperatures were above the freezing point of water. If Antarctica is losing ice I highly doubt that it is because it is melting.

Curious George
Reply to  Rick Kargaard
January 15, 2019 9:34 am

It is a sublimation, not melting – but they wisely stay within a vocabulary of the target audience.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Rick Kargaard
January 15, 2019 6:53 pm

The claim is about warmer water melting the ice, not air.

I think what you just did was create a ‘strawman’ .

E J Zuiderwijk
January 15, 2019 8:30 am

What a load of waffel discribing something that can be said in a few words.

Just reintroduce scientific honesty and integrity. It would do wonders.

Steve O
January 15, 2019 8:37 am

Yale gives itself a generous definition of the term “growing consensus.” Perhaps they should first tackle the gap between what the activists are saying about doom and gloom and what the scientists are actually saying.

Also, their model of what would provide financial transparency is insufficient. I suggest they look at the whole universe of who benefits and who does not benefit, and see who is providing most of the funding:
– Most of the rest of the world, including the entire apparatus of the UN: Benefits to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars in expected wealth transfers
– Governments: Benefits to the extent of any hundreds of billions of dollars in new taxes.
– Politicians: Benefit to the extent they can direct new spending on infrastructure, and other spending from taxes raised.
– Corporations in general: Benefits to the extent of new spending. (We won’t be spending trillions of dollars and corporate investors not benefit.)
– Activist groups: Expected to benefit from new taxes that kick a portion to activist groups.
– Utilities and power companies: Benefits to the extent of any new investments made in wind and solar
– Oil companies: Probably unchanged. Only lose if oil is left in the ground forever.
– Coal companies: Probably a loser as demand for coal falls.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Steve O
January 16, 2019 6:27 am

“Politicians: Benefit to the extent they can direct new spending on infrastructure, and other spending from taxes raised.”

And raising their own salaries, and kickbacks, and side deals, and…

January 15, 2019 8:38 am

undermine science
Adding the word “science” to your field of study doesn’t make you a scientist.

January 15, 2019 8:42 am

Aren’t thes authors unable to have a look into a mirror ?
Than they may see directly what they are blaming for…

Rod Evans
January 15, 2019 8:45 am

I was reviewing some of the misinformation masquerading as settled science (sic) that the general public has been forced to hear in recent times.
1. By 2018 there will be no arctic ice, vessels will be able to sail across the North Pole unrestricted.
Someone should have let the fools who tried sailing into the arctic this summer know that, before they had to turn back due to ice blocking their way.
2. There was no medieval warm period.
The Danes farming in Greenland would have been relieved to know the period they enjoying there, was completely in line with future chilly conditions that forced them to abandon their farms.
3. The entire past one thousand years of climate can be deduced by studying a single bristle cone pine tree in North America. The qualifier being you have to graft on actual thermometer reading for modern times to generate what shape hockey stick you are looking for. No elaboration needed.
4.Snow will be a rare thing, our children will not know what snow is.
The children in Canada and central Europe this winter are struggling to see snow due to being buried in it, many feet thick!
5. Island nations will drown in the rising ocean waters if we allow (as if we can stop it) temperatures to increase a further 0.5 deg C.
All the evidence so far shows islands are unaffected by ocean level, but are affected by Arabian sand piling making new islands and Chinese sand harvesting building islands in the South China sea. Also worth noting is the movement of tectonic plates relative to nominal ocean level.
6. The ocean is becoming acidified.
The simple test of checking the PH of the oceans proves this to be a straight lie.
7 Corals will disappear due to warming oceans.
Corals have a record of surviving all past ocean temperatures hot and cold they adapt, just like all living things do.
8. CO2 causes atmospheric warming and the change in the world’s atmospheric temperature is due to human induced CO2.
Not one single scientific report has been tabled that proves CO2 drives temperature higher. There are endless studies that show temperature drives CO2 higher.
9. A warmer world is a catastrophic prospect.
Given the choice between 2 deg C warmer and 2 deg C colder, I will have the warmer option any time it is given to me.
I will stop there, as I am starting to get angry…

George Daddis
Reply to  Rod Evans
January 15, 2019 10:18 am

At this point in time, the “wedge” that sceptics might find useful is to point out the very large difference between what legitimate “climate scientists” have said (and are saying) compared to the statements and most probably the misinformed beliefs of activists, politicians and especially academics in other fields who take the “catastrophic” assumption as Gospel.

– The starting point of course would be Doran and Zimmerman’s oft quoted 97% study, which did NOT conclude that the consensus was that warming from anthropogenic CO2 emissions were dangerous, much less catastrophic (that was added by politicians like BHO).

– Arrhenius showed that under laboratory conditions, adding CO2 to a closed system, and with all other things being constant, the temperature would rise by an amount that could be calculated. He never wrote that the possible effect of that discovery in the real world would be harmful. (Of course our open atmosphere is not under “Normal (Lab) Conditions”)

– Papers that “prove” an alarmist conclusion are usually not from researchers in the “atmospheric” sciences but rather from other fields (e.g. biology) who take the extreme warming scenario as a given. (Don’t get me started on “papers” from psychologists or “climate communication specialists”.) In contrast the data based studies in the IPCC Assessment Reports (as contrasted to the Summary for Policy Makers) are usually quite tame.

January 15, 2019 9:04 am

You can note that those working in the ‘social ‘ area are desperate to add the word ‘science ‘ to the name of their area , whilst those working in science have no interest in added the word ‘social ‘ to there areas. And that tells you a great deal .

January 15, 2019 9:12 am

How many tools fit into the penthouse of an ivory tower? Although the piece, paper, essay, whatever isn’t peer reviewed it is published in a science journal which publishes peer reviewed science. Close enough for Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.

These pseudo-scientists live in such a comfy cocoon that they haven’t noticed happenings in the socialist paradise of France.

January 15, 2019 9:45 am

“The movement emerged in mid-November as a response to fuel tax increases, and is named for the fluorescent garments motorists are required to keep in vehicles.” France 24

The last bit is the crux of the matter. Why are they required to keep yellow vests in their cars to begin with? Who’s cousin owns the sewing factory? Why aren’t they required to wear crash helmets based on the precautionary principle. I would start the national conversation there. Although at this point I’m certain that the government would realize their mistake in requiring the vests.

CD in Wisconsin
January 15, 2019 9:51 am

“..That might seem like a paradox, but it’s also no coincidence, says Justin Farrell, a professor of sociology at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES). It was around this time that an organized network, funded by organizations with a lot to lose in a transition to a low-carbon economy, started to coalesce around the goal of undercutting the legitimacy of climate science…”

What the heck is a sociology professor doing working at a Forestry and Environmental Studies School to begin with???? Where are the wildlife and plant biologists? Seems rather odd.

At any rate, the level of arrogance and overblown egos being put on display by the authors with this “paper” only serve to demonstrate the need on the part of the authors to sell the climate alarmist narrative as an infallible and unquestionable holy religion with little or no regard for the manner in which scientific discourse (on matters like climate) are supposed to operate.

Although I am not a scientist, it seems to be that tossing out the standards of scientific discourse, which is supposed to involve inquiry and skepticism, shows that the authors here may be somewhat aware that they are in fact selling a religion rather than a scientifically sound hypothesis. Only the believers in religious and political doctrines embrace their beliefs as infallible and unquestionable, not those in science (at least not under normal circumstances).

The authors discuss the money going into a supposed skepticism “network” on climate, and not the billions poured into alarmism by the governments of the world. Do they have evidence that their is in fact some organized network created and funded for the sole express purpose of undermining them? Do they expect me to believe that the climate alarmist narrative is not the product of the corruption of climate science by billions of $$$ and leftist political agendas? Do they expect me to believe that climate science is truly incorruptible? If the climate “science” is truly settled, are climate alarmist scientists willing to let that multi-billion dollar gravy train dry up and be spent elsewhere? I seriously doubt that.

The more I see of this, the more I become sympathetic to the idea of world governments pulling the plug on funding science altogether, but I know it will never happen as long as science can be and is being manipulated for ideological, environmental and political activist purposes. The authors here who are trying to make climate science look infallible and unquestionable probably understand how devastating the defunding of science by govts would be to their financial interests and their political and eco-activism.

When you think you are using science to make the world a better place, your ignorance can end up making matters worse….much worse.

Brooks Hurd
January 15, 2019 10:09 am

“Many people see these efforts to undermine science as an increasingly dangerous challenge”

I believe that all of us are aware of the challenges to science which the AGW proponents have created.

January 15, 2019 10:21 am

Or, and I think this might be a simpler solution, we could just do science and let the wrong hypotheses get tossed aside.

January 15, 2019 11:20 am

The climate consensus is getting darker and more paranoid by the day.
This sort of malcious criminalization of opinion differences has to be resisted. Where these authors are going is way past McCarthyism, and rapidly approaching Stalinist/Orwellian suppression.
Shame on the faux academics who are promoting this transparently untrue narrative.
And the fact that their paranoid conspiracy theory has been demonstrated to be categorically false, yet they are still pushing it, speaks volumes about their lack of integrity.

January 15, 2019 12:25 pm

If the CAGW cultists want to be taken seriously, they need to stop lying. Intelligent people tune out liars, and they look for honest answers elsewhere. That is why skeptics never turn believer, and it is also why skeptics turn away from the “experts”, because there is no room in science for liars.

Say what you will about skeptics, at least they are honest.

In my industry, a lie will get you prosecuted, and we are not doing anything near as important as trying to “save the planet”.

January 15, 2019 1:04 pm

One sure way to demonstrate that this is not those promoting the banner of true science being stopped from achieving meaningful policy is by looking at what constitutes meaningful policy.
The current definition is of constraining global emissions to stop 2°C, or even 1.5°C of global warming.
The magnitude of the changes required is contained in the second summary point of the UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2018.

2. Global greenhouse gas emissions show no signs of peaking. Global CO2 emissions from energy and industry increased in 2017, following a three-year period of stabilization. Total annual greenhouse gases emissions, including from land-use change, reached a record high of 53.5 GtCO2e in 2017, an increase of 0.7 GtCO2e compared with 2016. In contrast, global GHG emissions in 2030 need to be approximately 25 percent and 55 percent lower than in 2017 to put the world on a least-cost pathway to limiting global warming to 2°C and 1.5°C respectively.

Figure ES.3 from the report nicely illustrates the emission gaps

comment image

A meaningful policy is one that is a contribution towards this objective. Yet the aggregate impact of all conceivable new initiatives will not even stop global emissions from rising.
The primary reason is that developing countries are specifically excluded from any obligation to reduce their emissions under the 1992 Rio Declaration. This was reinforced in the Paris Agreement Article 4.1. With currently about two-thirds of emissions, about 100% of net emissions growth and over 80% of the global population this guarantees that even the 2°C emissions pathway will not be missed.
The second reason is that a number of countries are highly dependent on the production of fossil fuels for a large part of their national income. When I last looked, Russia was only slightly behind the US in fossil fuel production – oil, coal, and gas. But Russia’s nominal GDP is about 8% of the US total ($1.52trn v $19.39trn), so Russia is far more dependent on fossil fuel extraction for its prosperity. In turn, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and other gulf states are more dependent on fossil fuels than Russia. China is less dependent than Russia on the production of fossil fuels, but produces nearly half the world’s coal.
As developing countries have shown no willingness to cut their emissions, and as major non-Western fossil fuel producing nations no willingness to end production in the next few decades, claims of meaningful policy are false. So why are Western climate alarmists try to stop political opposition and sue Western fossil fuel companies?

Greg Cavanagh
January 15, 2019 1:08 pm

Public inoculation: This will only work until people realise they are being lied to. Once that realisation happens, this strategy will never work again.

Legal strategies: Demonstrate that this is true, and we’ll listen to what else you have to say. You must demonstrate this first, before we do our part in listening.

Political mechanisms: More social science research is needed? It’s the hard sciences that demonstrated that the world is dying, and you want to do more social science?

Financial transparency: As above, demonstrate this first, then we’ll talk.

Ian Macdonald
January 15, 2019 1:13 pm

The ones who are worried are the subsidy beneficiaries. Here, been through this all before with Common Market subsides. Which seemed like a bonanza for farmers at the time, but ultimately led to their ruin.

Where there’s a subsidy there’s a scam, and when the racketeers get powerful enough they start to challenge the government for control of the situation. It then takes drastic action to set things right.

Flight Level
January 15, 2019 1:13 pm

After reading the article I had a hearty laugh when I envisioned the following scene on a mathematicians congress:

“The deniers who disagree with our demonstration that square root of 4 is approximatively equal to 3.14 will be prosecuted by our lawyers in accordance with the UN binding agreements on computer modeling !”

Of course any resemblance with existing politically correct events is purely fortuitous.

michael hart
January 15, 2019 1:22 pm

Just as the scientific community was reaching a consensus on the dangerous reality of climate change, the partisan divide on climate change began to widen.

There you go. It’s a fairy tale, not science.
I almost expected the next few sentences to involve two children lost in a wood, following a trail towards a house made of candy where the wicked witch lived. I remember now, it was called “Hansel and Gretel”, wasn’t it?

January 15, 2019 1:36 pm

I have a hard time figuring out which “side” is providing which “information”. The mainstream media and much of the internet regularly supplies misinformation about the climate an how it changes. When you have only a vague theory it’s hard to get people excited about it. Certainly calling storms that virtually everyone’s grand parents can vouch happened before “unprecendented” (by 1% or so) doesn’t make many converts. The highest temperatue evah(by .02deg) when grandma tells stories about the Dust Bowl where the family had to drive to California to find a place to live makes a few 90deg day pale in comparison.

January 15, 2019 2:14 pm

Nineteen Eighty-Four is a novel by English writer George Orwell published in June 1949. The novel is set in the year 1984 when most of the world population have become victims of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance and propaganda. Oceania is ruled by the “Party”, who employ the “Thought Police” to persecute individualism and independent thinking. Here we come.

Bill Parsons
January 15, 2019 2:35 pm

Commenters should resist the tendency to throw out the baby of sociology / psychology with the bathwater of sociological indoctrination into left-wing (or any other) ideological viewpoint.

Jonathan Haidt and Jordan Peterson have an interesting discussion (link below) about the injustice of this indoctrination at American universities, naming Yale, Brown and Middlebury as poster children for social justice institutions. If they want to cultivate social justice warriors, fine, says Haidt, just be up front about it. I know nothing about the institution he is discussing here, a consortium of university professors dedicated to countering this trend, but I think most readers will enjoy listening to the interview on “The Perilous State of the University”. I believe it is men like these who will spearhead the change in the American university system away from hysteria and toward more rational thought.

For a quick summary of that thinking, advance to 2:30:00.

Bill Parsons
Reply to  Bill Parsons
January 15, 2019 2:50 pm

Sorry, make that 1:30:00 to see summary.

John Robertson
January 15, 2019 4:58 pm

“It was around this time that an organized network, funded by organizations with a lot to lose in a transition to a low-carbon economy, started to coalesce around the goal of undercutting the legitimacy of climate science.”
And so I read on,then I clicked the link.
Zero evidence offered in either.
Also no names.
If their slander and speculation had evidence,I expected them to produce that evidence.
So it seems the Soft impersonators of science still have the intelligence to avoid getting themselves sued into poverty, or they really have nothing but used pages of paper to say S.F.A.
Which is the standards of present academia.

January 15, 2019 5:54 pm

It would seem that science that does not mock its roots in skepticism would go a long way to gaining clarity concerning climate change, its causes, and its effects.

Barry Brill
January 15, 2019 6:06 pm

Four strategies to manipulate, bully and isolate those who aren’t yet persuaded that anthropogenic global warming is an imminent existential threat.

Why not try the highly radical strategy of publishing the IPCC’s empirical evidence that the TCR used in its models is correct? And disclosing the relative contributions of natural and anthropogenic causes of observed warming?

That should do the trick.

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
January 15, 2019 6:13 pm

All this depends upon the perception of the authors on “What they mean by climate change”? Is it global warming or as defined by IPCC and UNCCC. If they are talking of global warming — Do they have “Climate Sensitivity factor” realistically or varying between x and y?

When such studies are made, they must clear in black and white on climate change. Otherwise such studies have no meaning.

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

Wiliam Haas
January 15, 2019 7:14 pm

“Just as the scientific community was reaching a consensus on the dangerous reality of climate change, the partisan divide on climate change began to widen.” But there in no consensus on the AGW conjecture. Scientists have never registered and voted on the validity of the AGW conjecture but even if they had the results would have no value because science is not a democracy or a popularity contest. The laws of science are not some sort of legislation. Scientific theories are not validated through a voting process. The reality is that based upon the paleoclimate record and the work done with models, the climate change that we have been experiencing is caused by the sun and the oceans over which mankind has no control. There is no real evidence that CO2 has nay effect on climate and there is plenty of scientific rationale to support the idea that the climate sensitivity of CO2 is zero. This is all a matter of science.

The big problem is that the AGW conjecture is based on only partial science and is full of holes. For example, the AGW conjecture depends upon the existence of a radiant greenhouse effect caused by trace gases in the Earth’s atmosphere with LWIR absorption bands. Such a radiant greenhouse effect has not been observed in a real greenhouse, in the Earth’s atmosphere or anywhere else in the solar system for that matter. The radiant greenhouse effect is science fiction so hence the AGW conjecture is science fiction as well.

January 15, 2019 10:25 pm

Yes I know that the climate has always changed, and always will . But why do the Warmers think that is a bad thing. So it get just a little warmer, less storms and more Greening.

We should us this saying of theirs against them. Keep on saying that its good that the climate appears to be changing to a slightly warmer and Greener world, so much the better.

This just shows that more CO2 is a good thing.


January 16, 2019 12:45 am

Just more loo paper.

Verified by MonsterInsights