Episode 12: Climates Change, Minds Don’t

Despite the overwhelming evidence showing that climate change is real and caused by human activity, millions of Americans still reject this scientific consensus. Why?

In this episode, we discuss two major factors driving climate change denial: the cognitive “glitches” hardwired in our brains and the piles of “dark money” from energy companies taking advantage of these imperfections.




Goldberg, Suzanne. “Exxon knew of climate change in 1981, email says – but it funded deniers for 27 more years.” The Guardian. 8 July 2015. Web. 23 Aug 2015.  http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/08/exxon-climate-change-1981-climate-denier-funding

Harman, Greg. “Our Brain on Climate Change: Why the Threat Produces Apathy, Not Action.” The Guardian, 10 Nov. 2014. Web. 23 Aug. 2015.  http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2014/nov/10/brain-climate-change-science-psychology-environment-elections

Hart, P. Sol and Erik C. Nisbet. “Boomerang Effects in Science Communication: How Motivated Reasoning and Identity Cues Amplify Opinion Polarization About Climate Mitigation Policies.” Communication Research. December 2012 vol. 39 no. 6 701-723, 29 Oct. 2012. Web. 23 Aug. 2015. http://crx.sagepub.com/content/39/6/701

Honan, Daniel. “The New War on Science: Climate Change Deniers.” Big Think. 30 Nov. 2011. Web. 23 Aug. 2015. http://bigthink.com/think-tank/the-new-war-on-science-climate-change-

IPSOS Mori survey available at http://www.ipsosglobaltrends.com/environment.html

Klein, Naomi. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate. New York: Simon & Schuster. 2014. Print.

Marshall, George. Don’t Even Think about It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change. New York: Bloomsbury, 2014. Print.

Mooney, Chris. “Want to Sway Climate Change Skeptics? Ask About Their Personal Strengths (And Show Pictures!).” DeSmogBlog. 14 Sept. 2011. Web. 23 Aug. 2015.  http://www.desmogblog.com/want-sway-climate-change-skeptics-ask-about-their-personal-strengths-and-show-pictures

NOAA. “Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Overview.” NOAA. Department of Commerce, Web. 23 Aug. 2015. http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/

Nuccitelli, Dana. “Climate Denial Linked to Conspiratorial Thinking in New Study” The Guardian. 8 July 2015. Web. 23 Aug. 2015.  http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2015/jul/08/climate-denial-linked-to-conspiratorial-thinking-in-new-study

Nuccitelli, Dana (Guardian). “Contrarians Bully Journal Into Retracting a Climate Psychology Paper.” The Guardian. 21 Mar. 2014. Web. 23 Aug. 2015. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2014/mar/21/contrarians-bully-climate-change-journal-retraction

Nyhan, Brendan. “Knowledge Does Not Guard against Conspiracy Theories.” ‘Brendan Nyhan’ Brenden-Nyhan.com, 06 Nov. 2012. Web. 23 Aug. 2015.http://www.brendan-nyhan.com/blog/2012/11/knowledge-does-not-guard-against-conspiracy-theories.html

Nyahn, Brendan and Reifler, Jason. “The Roles of Information Deficits and Identity Threat

in the Prevalence of Misperceptions” Dartmouth College. 22 June 2015. http://www.dartmouth.edu/~nyhan/opening-political-mind.pdf

Oreskes, Naomi & Conway, Erik M. “Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming.” New York: Bloomsbury, 2010. Print.

Potter, Wendell. Deadly Spin. New York: Bloomsbury Press. 2010. Chapter 11, The Playbook pg. 211-233. Print
Schulman, Jeremy. “72 Percent of Republican Senators Are Climate Deniers.” Mother Jones. 10 Jan. 2015. Web. 23 Aug. 2015. http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/01/republican-climate-denial-caucus


INTRO: Jon Ellig

LOGO: Jake Karcher

IMAGE: By Victor Korniyenko (From Wiki.) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

About the Author


Leave a Reply