The Phony ‘Debate’ Over Climate Change

For the past 21 years there’s been broad consensus among climate scientists that humans are significantly changing global temperatures.

June 11, 2013   John Cook


“This misperception has persisted for several decades and hasn’t happened by accident. There has been a deliberate, focused attempt to confuse the public about the level of agreement between scientists for over 20 years.


In 1991, Western Fuels Association spent half a million dollars on a campaign attacking the scientific consensus. Political pollster Frank Luntz advised Republicans to focus on casting doubt on consensus in a memo leaked in 2002. A 2012 analysis of conservative syndicated columns found that the number one climate myth promoted by conservative columnists was “there is no scientific consensus.”


Why such a focus on attacking the consensus? Studies in 2011 and2013 found that when the public correctly understands that scientists agree on climate change, it is more likely to support policy to do something about it.


Social scientists are coming to realize what opponents of climate action have known for decades. If you confuse the public about scientific consensus, you can delay meaningful climate action.”



Ignorance is a terrible thing but hiding the truth is even worse.