Recently research confirmed that companies like ExxonMobil or the Koch Brothers are funding climate denial. Handing out million of dollars to front groups and organizing actions to discredit the science. The study states a figure of about 4600 individuals (in the U.S.) who professionally seed doubt. If only 100 of them post regularly, then they can make an impression in online forums or comment sections. There are ofc also people who don’t trust government or scientists or whatever it is. But any reasonable person will listen and weight any evidence which is presented, you can test this on your own when you bring up the topic of climate change. People in general listen to what you have to say. Now try the same experiment with an online individual who makes comments like, “This is all religion”, “This is BS”, “This is a money scheme”, “Taxes are bad”.
In the following a few simple ways to respond.
- Simply enforce basic community standards, i.e. block users who use ad hominems.
- Challenge any claims, ask for scientific sources, evidence (notice that privately owned blog posts are not considered reliable when it comes to science and facts). Example: Ask for scientific proof that 2015 or 2014 or 14 of the 15 years since 2000 are not the warmest on record.
- Ignore the noise and remind yourself that many entities who disagree with the science are paid to do so. Heck, they even use automated bots to create a different impression, or they probably use services to buy subscribers, buy facebook, twitter likes. (Read The Inevitable Bite of Buying Followers and Likes)
Finally at one point people will be put on trial. This might happen at some point. When people start to feel the various emerging threats to their own property and life they will demand action, that’s basic human nature. But as longer we wait with real climate action and let us distract, chances are that we will see food shortages, civil unrest, deserted towns, pests, extensive heatwaves, extensive floods, more extreme weather, or collapse of ecosystems, and so on. Only because of a few people who think they can change basic physics when denying it, or who think that global warming is good somehow.
Above cartoon has been called the best Toles cartoon by Joe Romm (Image source). When we finally realize that we cannot simply turn back all the emitted carbon we will wish that we had acted earlier. There is only so much time left for us to do something about the problem of to much CO2 in the air, at one point natural systems will kick in and might unleash additional carbon on their own, no matter what we do then. (Read Research links abrupt paleoclimatic change to possible methane hydrate destabilization)
Climate deniers don’t care what the science says, they will just deny everything, because that’s their job. Thus, just block and ignore their drivel.