How to talk to a climate change denier

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Originally posted on Mar 18, 2012

Communications expert George Marshall offers six strategies for talking to people who don’t accept that climate change is happening Drawing on his workshops in climate communications and the latest social research he proposes a respectful approach that responds to their interests and values. He says that you should keep away from an argument about the science and concentrate on the personal journey that led you to accept the problem. Try it and you’ll find it works.

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8 thoughts on “How to talk to a climate change denier

  1. How do I tell Uncle Bob that there never was a personal journey for me, that I was born into the destination? As long as I remember (and that’s back to the 1950s) science has been a passion — astronomy and space science especially — and the physics of planetary atmospheres was just a part of it. Read Asimov, and learned that way about Arrhenius and Plass and Keeling and all that. This is old science!

    So, I have been expecting what is happening now. Not really worrying yet back then — surely technology would come up with something. A bit of a hurry with that now 😉

  2. Hmmm – He’s too kind. He says (about 4:50 in) that they are thinking about, and forming their own views, on climate change. Anyone who actually takes time to, you know actually think, about climate change can not be, in all honesty, a climate denier. They are not forming their own opinions, not at least in any meaningful sense of the word. They are being spoon fed those ideas by the likes of Fox, Limbaugh, and others who exert an enormous influence on anyone to the right of center on the political spectrum. If right wing media (and that is by far the vast majority of the MSM) is their main source of information then their views and opinions are the result of lies and propaganda, not rational thought.

  3. I too did not have that personal journey. I was there from the beginning (though there was a period when I was unsure which direction climate was going to change in as I was faced with the paleo record and the models each tugging in a different direction).

    But overall i think his approach is valid and has some good science behind it.

  4. Actually I had an Uncle Bob who didn’t believe human moonflight was possible — as late as the 1960s, even after Kennedy’s announcement. Having read Jules Verne (and lots of rocket stuff) I knew of course better. Life was good July 1969 🙂

  5. To talk to so called “deniers”, don’t you actually need to, well, talk to them? And allow them to talk?

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