You are here

Climate Change Denial

Denialism logo, person with crossed arms over a shirt saying 'NO.' Image by Paula Spence for NCSE, 2012

Although scientists are in broad agreement about the occurrence, causes, and consequences of climate change, the topic is socially controversial. In part, the controversy is due to climate change deniers — people and organizations who deny or doubt the scientific consensus around climate change. In order to derail, delay, or degrade climate-related public policies they oppose, climate change deniers frequently seek to obscure or disparage the scientific consensus around climate change.

In order to develop effective solutions to the myriad challenges of climate change, particularly with respect to climate education, it is important to understand the arguments of the climate change deniers, which consistently employ three rhetorically effective — but false — pillars: that climate change is bad science, that acceptance of climate change is driven by radical ideological motivations and leads to undesirable social consequences, and that it is only fair to acknowledge a scientific controversy over climate change.

Climate change denial is already threatening the integrity of science education in public schools and elsewhere. These attacks occur in individual classrooms, local school boards, state boards of education and state legislatures, and informal learning environments. And even in the absence of explicit attacks, science educators report experiencing implicit pressure to compromise on the scientific accuracy of their presentations of climate change. NCSE helps concerned citizens to defend accurate science education in all of these settings.