Thursday 18 September 2014, 4.15PM to 17:15
Speaker(s): John Cook
In 2013, John Cook lead the Consensus Project, a crowd-sourced effort to complete the most comprehensive analysis of climate research ever made. They found that among relevant climate papers, 97% endorsed the consensus that humans were causing global warming. When this research was published, it was tweeted by President Obama and received media coverage across the globe, with the paper being awarded the best article published by the journal Environmental Research Letters in 2013. However, the paper has also been relentlessly attacked by climate deniers who reject the scientific consensus. Hundreds of blog posts have criticised the results while newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal and Boston Globe have published negative op-eds. Conservative organisations such as the Global Warming Policy Foundation and Heartland Institute have published critical reports and the Republican Party organised congressional testimony against the research on Capitol Hill. This campaign is merely the latest episode in over 20 years of attacks on the scientific consensus on human-caused global warming. John Cook will discuss his research both on the 97% consensus and on the cognitive psychology of consensus. He will also look at the broader issue of scientific consensus and why it generates such intense focus from climate deniers.
John Cook is the Climate Communication Fellow for the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland. In 2007, he created SkepticalScience.com, a website that refutes climate misinformation with peer-reviewed science. John has co-authored the college textbook Climate Change Science: A Modern Synthesis, the book Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand. He has published papers on scientific consensus, misinformation, agnotology-based learning and the psychology of climate change. He is currently completing a doctorate in cognitive psychology, researching the psychology of climate change and the efficacy of inoculation against misinformation.