Climate-Communication Overview

A work by Banksy, in Camden, London (2009 after the UN Climate Change Conference
in Copenhagen, which ended without legally binding results)

Dealing with “climate deniers” and “climate skeptics”

“In total, 536 people have been in space. Ever”, writes Andrew Winston. Ever. “They’re the only ones who have seen our spheroid planet from above. And yet most of the seven billion of us alive today would agree that the earth is round. Ask yourself why you believe that. How do you know?

Consider a few more. How do you know that…

  • … everything around you is made up of things called “atoms”
  • there are black holes?
  • smoking causes cancer?
  • Plato existed?

If you’re not a physicist, oncologist, or historian, how do you know these things?

We take these truths to be self-evident because we trust experts. We trust history, written and spoken record, common understanding, and the assembled evidence of science. We listen to our teachers, our doctors, our parents, our journalists (most of us, until recently), and others. And yet, with climate change, it seems everyone is an expert”, says Andrew Winston.

Again and again we experience that the warnings of the scientists are relativized, intermingled or even completely questioned. “If that were all right, what you write, then you could just put the rope around your neck,” someone wrote me these days. It can not be what may not be.

But how do we deal with climate deniers and skeptics? Answers to this we try to compile in the following articles:

  1. Can we believe the scientists, asks Andrew Wilson, or more precisely, he names countless people and organizations which do so. We all show our faith in science as soon as we board a plane or take medicine as directed by a doctor. Basically, according to Wilson, almost everyone believes in science, including all world leaders – with one exception (which he does not have to name)
  • Discussions with “climate deniers” and “climate skeptics” Here is a helpful distinction between denial and disawoval (do you have suggestions for a meaningful German translation, that is intuitively to understand?). Until then we stay with the two English terms. We also describe how we ourselves try to cope in conversations with “climate deniers” and “climate skeptics”. And here is also an interesting link to a discussion that a scientist led with a room full of skeptics.
  • Denying Climate Denial – A. Wilson again: He offers us a helpful system that makes it easier to understand why we feel discomfort in some discussions: “Denying climate denial” vividly describes how differentiated the defense can be. If, for example, the climate crisis is not questioned at all, but meaningful action is nevertheless presented as unrealisable, so that necessary measures can be slowed down and / or prevented.
  • “Climate deniers” and “climate skeptics” – arguments from an economic point of view. In another article, Wilson explains why action in relation to the climate crisis is advisable and sensible not only ecologically, but also economically.
  • “Climate deniers” – in politics. Here you will find (soon) a brief look at the political situation in America and a study that shows that beyond all knowledge transfer often only the personal concern led to a rethinking.