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University of Queensland

Making Sense of Climate Science Denial

University of Queensland via edX


In public discussions, climate change is a highly controversial topic. However, in the scientific community, there is little controversy with 97% of climate scientists concluding humans are causing global warming.

  • Why the gap between the public and scientists?
  • What are the psychological and social drivers of the rejection of the scientific consensus?
  • How has climate denial influenced public perceptions and attitudes towards climate change?

This course examines the science of climate science denial.

We will look at the most common climate myths from "global warming stopped in 1998" to "global warming is caused by the sun" to "climate impacts are nothing to worry about."

We'll find out what lessons are to be learnt from past climate change as well as better understand how climate models predict future climate impacts. You'll learn both the science of climate change and the techniques used to distort the science.

With every myth we debunk, you'll learn the critical thinking needed to identify the fallacies associated with the myth. Finally, armed with all this knowledge, you'll learn the psychology of misinformation. This will equip you to effectively respond to climate misinformation and debunk myths.

This isn't just a climate MOOC; it's a MOOC about how people think about climate change.


WEEK 1: Understanding The Climate Controversy
During the first week of the course, we introduce the course content, interact with each other and complete an introductory survey. The week continues with an exploration of political consensus, the drivers and psychology of climate science denial and an overview of the controversy surrounding this topic.

WEEK 2: Global Warming Is Happening
In week two, we will look at the indicators of global warming and myths related to temperature and glaciers.

WEEK 3: We Are Causing Gobal Warming
Week three focuses on the ways in which humans cause climate change and the myths associated with the greenhouse effect and the rise in carbon dioxide.

WEEK 4: The Past Tells Us About The Future
This week looks at the history of climate change in order to model future climate change. We also address myths related to models.

WEEK 5: We Are Feeling The Impacts Of Climate Change
Week five covers climate feedbacks and the impacts of climate change on the environment, society and the weather.

WEEK 6 and 7: Responding to Denial
The final weeks of the course look more closely at the psychology of science denial and debunking techniques. We also complete a peer assessment that asks students to practice debunking strategies on real myths that can be found in today's media.

Approach: mini-lectures, video interviews, quizzes, activities, a peer assessed writing assignment, and readings.

Taught by

John Cook


4.9 rating, based on 9 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Making Sense of Climate Science Denial

  • It's a great course that covers fundamental science of climate change, psychology behind climate denial, and strategy to communicate climate science and debunk myths. Highlights include: interviews with dozens of experts around the world on different...
  • Anonymous
    This course really helped me to understand and learn to explain the science to clear up with common misconceptions. Previously, I haven't been able to give the right responses to deniers of menmade climate change. That has changed now also thanks to this course.

    The course is structured well, easy to follow and the scientific literature is given for download.

    Also I really enjoyed the interactive tools that helped understanding certain methods and phenomenons.
  • Dr Michael White

    Dr Michael White completed this course, spending 9 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    A very interesting course with application far beyond the subject matter. It would be very helpful for most people to understand media and public pronouncements. Some real treasures are included, such as: 'Logical fallacies; and the Dragons'. Excellent course!
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Lots of extended interviews with scientists were great. They're optional so the course doesn't have to take too much time if you just want the basics.
  • Yeny C completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    Excellent course, gives you the knowledge and the tools necessary to, not just feel, but be properly equipped to deal with climate change denial
  • Gy Ng completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    A very good course to learn about climate science and logical thinking. The course teach critical thinking with lots of examples of climate changes.
  • Philipp Straub

    Philipp Straub is taking this course right now, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

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    Susan Woudenberg

    Susan Woudenberg completed this course.

  • Atila Romero completed this course.

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