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Switching off denial

Danny Chivers presents the New Internationalist guide to debunking the myths of the climate change deniers.

If you’re a sceptic, then I salute you.

Sceptics are people who don’t take things at face value; they demand facts, and are ready to change opinions based on the weight of evidence, even if that goes against personal preferences or beliefs. I like to think that I’m a bit of sceptic myself (although I’ll need a bit more evidence before I’m sure).

Deniers, on the other hand, refuse to accept evidence that conflicts with their personal beliefs, desires or ideology. People in denial gather reasons and excuses, however flimsy, that allow them to not believe in whatever unwelcome truth they’re trying to avoid.

No serious sceptic could doubt that human-caused climate change is real, and serious – the evidence is just too overwhelming. However, many people are still in a state of denial over climate change, for a wide range of reasons. Fortunately, opinion polls show that the majority of the public accept the reality of the climate problem1; however, the number of people who take climate change seriously seems to be slipping back in some countries.2 If we want to keep building a global movement for climate justice, then we need to face up to the problem of denial.

Here are some handy weapons for tackling climate change denial head-on.

14 ● N ew I n t e r nat i o nal i s t ● MAY 2 011

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