Skip navigation
Skip navigation

Seepage: Climate change denial and its effect on the scientific community

Lewandowsky, Stephan; Oreskes, Naomi; Risbey, James; Newell, Ben; Smithson, Michael

Description

Vested interests and political agents have long opposed political or regulatory action in response to climate change by appealing to scientific uncertainty. Here we examine the effect of such contrarian talking points on the scientific community itself. We show that although scientists are trained in dealing with uncertainty, there are several psychological reasons why scientists may nevertheless be susceptible to uncertainty-based argumentation, even when scientists recognize those arguments...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorLewandowsky, Stephan
dc.contributor.authorOreskes, Naomi
dc.contributor.authorRisbey, James
dc.contributor.authorNewell, Ben
dc.contributor.authorSmithson, Michael
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-10T23:36:01Z
dc.identifier.issn0959-3780
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/69968
dc.description.abstractVested interests and political agents have long opposed political or regulatory action in response to climate change by appealing to scientific uncertainty. Here we examine the effect of such contrarian talking points on the scientific community itself. We show that although scientists are trained in dealing with uncertainty, there are several psychological reasons why scientists may nevertheless be susceptible to uncertainty-based argumentation, even when scientists recognize those arguments as false and are actively rebutting them. Specifically, we show that prolonged stereotype threat, pluralistic ignorance, and a form of projection (the third-person effect) may cause scientists to take positions that they would be less likely to take in the absence of outspoken public opposition. We illustrate the consequences of seepage from public debate into the scientific process with a case study involving the interpretation of temperature trends from the last 15 years. We offer ways in which the scientific community can detect and avoid such inadvertent seepage.
dc.publisherElsevier
dc.sourceGlobal Environmental Change: Part A - Human and Policy Dimensions
dc.titleSeepage: Climate change denial and its effect on the scientific community
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume33
dc.date.issued2015
local.identifier.absfor170200 - COGNITIVE SCIENCE
local.identifier.ariespublicationa383154xPUB2177
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationLewandowsky, Stephan, University of Western Australia
local.contributor.affiliationOreskes, Naomi, Harvard University
local.contributor.affiliationRisbey, James, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research
local.contributor.affiliationNewell, Ben, University of New South Wales
local.contributor.affiliationSmithson, Michael, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage1
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage13
local.identifier.doi10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.02.013
dc.date.updated2015-12-10T11:48:27Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-84929407322
CollectionsANU Research Publications

Download

File Description SizeFormat Image
01_Lewandowsky_Seepage:_Climate_change_denial_2015.pdf671.42 kBAdobe PDF    Request a copy


Items in Open Research are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

Updated:  19 May 2020/ Responsible Officer:  University Librarian/ Page Contact:  Library Systems & Web Coordinator