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Climate change: Why the conspiracy theories are dangerous

Douglas, Karen, Sutton, Robbie M. (2015) Climate change: Why the conspiracy theories are dangerous. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 71 (2). pp. 98-106. ISSN 0096-3402. E-ISSN 1938-3282. (doi:10.1177/0096340215571908) (KAR id:48296)

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Uncertainty surrounds the public understanding of climate change and provides fertile ground for conspiracy theories. Typically, such conspiracy theories assert that climate scientists and politicians are distorting or hijacking the science to suit their own purposes. Climate change conspiracy theories resemble other conspiracy theories in some respects, but in others they appear to be quite different. For example, climate change conspiracy theories appear to be motivated by the desire to deny or minimize an unwelcome and threatening conclusion. They also appear to be more contentious than other types of conspiracy theories. Perhaps to an unparalleled extent, people on both sides of the issue champion climate change conspiracy theories. Finally, more than other conspiracy theories, those concerning climate change appear to be more politically loaded, dividing opinion across the left-right continuum. Some empirical evidence suggests that climate change conspiracy theories may be harmful, steering people away from environmentally friendly initiatives. They therefore present a significant challenge for governments and environmental organizations that are attempting to convince people to take action against global warming.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/0096340215571908
Uncontrolled keywords: climate change conspiracy theories motivated reasoning scientific consensus
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Karen Douglas
Date Deposited: 08 May 2015 10:33 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:24 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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