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How to fight fake news about climate change

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Arts Building, Trinity College Dublin

College Green

Dublin

Ireland

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Hosted by Trinity Research in Social Sciences

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How to fight fake news about climate change

There’s overwhelming scientific evidence that global warming is happening and humans are the cause. However, there’s also a mountain of misinformation designed to confuse the public about climate change. How do we respond to the firehose of falsehoods? One way to effectively neutralize the influence of misinformation is inoculation. This takes the idea of vaccination and applies it to knowledge—we can build immunity to misinformation by exposing people to a weakened form of misinformation. In other words, expose the misleading techniques used in misinformation. Not only does this approach neutralize the influence of science denial, it can turn misinformation into an educational opportunity and improve critical thinking. Dr. John Cook will outline his psychological and critical thinking research into countering misinformation and demonstrate with visual examples.

John Cook is a research assistant professor at the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University. He obtained his PhD at the University of Western Australia, studying the cognitive psychology of climate science denial. His research focus is understanding and countering misinformation about climate change. In 2007, he founded Skeptical Science, a website which won the 2011 Australian Museum Eureka Prize for the Advancement of Climate Change Knowledge and 2016 Friend of the Planet Award from the National Center for Science Education. John authored the book Cranky Uncle vs. Climate Change, that combines climate science, critical thinking, and cartoons to explain and counter climate misinformation. He also co-authored the college textbooks Climate Change: Examining the Facts and Climate Change Science: A Modern Synthesis and the book Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand. In 2013, he published a paper finding 97% scientific consensus on human-caused global warming, a finding that has been highlighted by President Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

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Arts Building, Trinity College Dublin

College Green

Dublin

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