Friday, August 19, 2016

#2 Dunlap, Jacques - History of Climate Science Denial, introduction to study

This is the second installment of Dunlap, Jacques' (2013) study of the history of our dysfunctional climate science education dialogue.  They focused on the influence of "conservative think tanks (CTTs) on the output of "skeptical" book publications.

Here are facts about why out and out lying has been allowed to became the mainstay of the Republican climate science contrarian PR strategy   Facts that it would be good for younger activists to be aware of.  Given that the study has a CCA License I've decided to Repost the complete text in a few installments.  It will be a valuable addition to my collection of resources for the serious student of the attack on science.  I thank Riley Dunlap and Peter Jacques for the opportunity to Repost their impressive work.

Am Behav Sci. 2013 Jun; 57(6): 699–731.

Climate Change Denial Books and Conservative Think Tanks - Part two

Copyright © 2013 SAGE Publications
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Books Challenging Climate Science

Although just one of many forms of media employed by CTTs, books are especially important for reaching the conservative movement’s core constituency, wider segments of the public, and critical sectors of society such as corporate, political, and media leaders. 

Books confer a sense of legitimacy on their authors and provide them an effective tool for combating the findings of climate scientists that are published primarily in scholarly, peer-reviewed journals—at least within the public and policy (as opposed to scientific) arenas. 

Authors of successful books critiquing climate science often come to be viewed as “climate experts,” regardless of their academic backgrounds or scientific credentials, and despite the fact that their books are seldom peer reviewed. They are interviewed on TV and radio, quoted by newspaper columnists, and cited by sympathetic politicians and corporate figures. 

Their books are frequently carried by major bookstore chains, where they are seen (even if not purchased) by a wide segment of the public, many receive enormous publicity on CTT websites and from conservative and skeptical bloggers, and some are carried by the Conservative Book Club. 

In short, books are a potent means for diffusing skepticism concerning AGW and the need to reduce carbon emissions. Given the critical role of CTTs in challenging climate science and policy making, and their proclivity for using books to promote their causes, we expect to find a strong link between CTTs and books espousing climate change denial.

In part this expectation is based on prior experience. In an earlier study of environmental skepticism writ large (Jacques et al., 2008), we examined 141 books espousing skepticism toward the scientific evidence for environmental problems of all types (including global warming) published through 2005, looking for evidence of linkages to CTTs. 

We found that 130, or 92%, of the books were linked to a CTT, either via publication by a CTT press or a verifiable connection between the author or editor and a CTT, or both. These links to highly influential and generally well-heeled CTTs challenge a common theme of the books—namely, that the authors or editors are little Davids battling the Goliath of environmental science.

The present study extends our earlier work by examining books espousing climate change denial per se published through 2010, including some examined in the prior study since they represent examples of environmental skepticism. Besides focusing on book connections to CTTs, we also examine the educational credentials and national backgrounds of their authors or editors. 

Given that climate change denial has become widespread within the United States and to some degree internationally, we pay particular attention to the role of CTTs in diffusing a skeptical view of climate change and climate science to a wider audience both within the United States and internationally.

The Study

Our data set consists of the population of English-language books assigned an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) that espouse various forms of climate change denial.1 These books reject evidence that global warming is occurring, that human actions are the predominant cause of global warming, and/or that global warming will have negative impacts on human and natural systems. 

These arguments have been labeled trend, attribution, and impact denial (Rahmstorf, 2004). Books were included only if they take one or more of these positions challenging climate science, all of which are used to reject the necessity of carbon emission reductions. We located 108 books espousing one or more of these versions of climate change denial published through 2010, employing searches via online book stores, bibliographies in denial books, references in articles written by climate change skeptics, and several skeptic blogs that promote denial literature. 

Climate change denial books, especially those that were published by obscure presses or were self-published, can be difficult to locate, and we have possibly missed a few. However, we are confident that the 108 we analyze represent virtually all denial books in English, allowing us to generalize our findings with confidence.

We limit our analysis to first-edition books, ignoring the small number of second-edition volumes that came out in only slightly revised form.2 The books are listed in the appendix (along with selected information we will shortly describe), grouped by their country of origin as determined via the lead author’s or editor’s apparent place of residence, and then arranged alphabetically by lead author or editor.

In addition to examining book links with CTTs—as done in our prior study—and location of lead author, we coded date of publication, the type of publisher employed, and information on the academic credentials (degrees and fields of study) of authors or editors. Our overall goal is to provide a good sense of the sources of these volumes—who is writing them and who is publishing them—paying special attention to the role of CTTs in the process. In the following sections we describe our coding decisions and thereby clarify information presented for each book in the appendix.


We begin by charting the publication of these books over time, documenting the recent rapid increase in their numbers, and then highlight a significant new development—the growth of self-published books, often by laypersons denying AGW. We then examine the connections between CTTs and the books, noting how this connection differs for books issued by publishing houses and those that are self-published. 

We next examine the national origins of the books, showing how production of climate change denial volumes has spread from the United States to several other nations as denial has diffused internationally, noting the role of Conservative Think Tanks in this process. 

Then we turn to the academic and scientific credentials of the authors or editors of the books, highlighting trends over time and variation across nations. 

We end by commenting on how the publishing sources used by the denial authors enables most of them to avoid peer review. …

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