Making Sense of Climate Science Denial

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8/10 stars
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Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Berkeley, are just some of the schools that you have at your fingertips with edX. Through massive open online courses (MOOCs) from the world's best universities, you can develop your knowledge in literature, math, history, food and nutrition, and more. These online classes are taught by highly-regarded experts in the field. If you take a class on computer science through Harvard, you may be taught by David J. Malan, a senior lecturer on computer science at Harvard University for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. But there's not just one professor - you have access to the entire teaching staff, allowing you to receive feedback on assignments straight from the experts. Pursue a Verified Certificate to document your achievements and use your coursework for job and school applications, promotions, and more. EdX also works with top universities to conduct research, allowing them to learn more about learning. Using their findings, edX is able to provide students with the best and most effective courses, constantly enhancing the student experience.

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Sciences & Technology
Business & Management
23847 reviews

Course Description

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&nb...

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.

Reviews 8/10 stars
61 Reviews for Making Sense of Climate Science Denial

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Michal Bojan profile image
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Michal Bojan

10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 11 months ago
Excellent, excellent course, I was impressed both by the clear form and high educational level. Great for putting your knowledge about the subject in order.
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Ron Hughes profile image
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Ron Hughes

1/10 starsCompleted
5 years ago
This is not an 'educational' course; it is attempted indoctrination. Instructors pounce on students' adverse comments, yet ignore erroneous on-message comments. Communist totalitarian states would be proud to emulate this course's propaganda. Will this review see the light of day? I doubt the moderators have the gonads to allow its posting. Should this comment not appear with 7 days of 2015-07-24, then it will be copied in it's entirety and forwarded both to edX and UofQ with a formal complaint about censorship.
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
5 years ago
This is the best course I ever taken. I think that the makers of this course should get the Nobel price or something like it. I hope that many people will take this course. Don't miss the full interviews of the experts they are great too.
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 10 months ago
This is not a science course per se, it is a course about science communication. At the same time, it provides loads of scientific facts on climate change, most of them quite worrying and depressing. After following this course, if someone comes and tells you that climate is not changing, you are armed to prove them wrong in a scientific way.
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 2 months ago
This has been the best MOOC I've taken part in. I found the science challenging to fully comprehend which really engaged me. The use of so many lecturers kept the course varied and interesting. The peer assessment had a really good structure.
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 2 months ago
For a lay person, educated in the humanities with an interest in Climate Science and the environment but absolutely no training in science beyond high school botany and geography, this course was very satisfying. I felt challenged to understand some aspects of the science, but perseverance won out. I now feel there are ways to ensure the success of my Community Engagement/Awareness Raising project. This course is a must do for all NRM & Envir-groups Community Engagement Officers. Would be pretty easy if you had a Science background. I loved the Social Psychology content too.
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Student

10/10 starsTaking Now
5 years, 2 months ago
This course is well put together. Pay no attention to the trolls on this site. They focus on the 97% remark without commenting on the multiple lines of data all leading to the same conclusion. Nor do they comment on the multiple models by nearly all of the major scientific groups in the world that all lead to the same conclusions. The fact is the climate is warming, humans are the cause of it and this class was very well put together. I've taught a MOOC before and it is not an easy thing to put together such a course. Hats off to the whole crew! I just finished my last assignment but don't have my final grade yet.
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Student

8/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 2 months ago
How can people claim to have completed this course before it's even started? Trolls need to find another past time, really! I believe this forum is about providing commentary about the course to help people decide whether they should take the course or not, as opposed to the dissecting the content of course. As I've just completed the course, I'll add my two cents worth. The course is well structured providing a balance of the science of climate change and the psychology behind why some may deny that it happens. It lays out the science, the myths and how to refute such fallacies. It gives the rationale of climate change denial and how to counter it in a logical manner. There are many experts from around the world appearing in short video lectures (and optional longer ones), with user friendly graphics, speakers' notes and more - all helping you understand climate change and why people may deny it. You don't really need prior kn... How can people claim to have completed this course before it's even started? Trolls need to find another past time, really! I believe this forum is about providing commentary about the course to help people decide whether they should take the course or not, as opposed to the dissecting the content of course. As I've just completed the course, I'll add my two cents worth. The course is well structured providing a balance of the science of climate change and the psychology behind why some may deny that it happens. It lays out the science, the myths and how to refute such fallacies. It gives the rationale of climate change denial and how to counter it in a logical manner. There are many experts from around the world appearing in short video lectures (and optional longer ones), with user friendly graphics, speakers' notes and more - all helping you understand climate change and why people may deny it. You don't really need prior knowledge of climate change to participate in the course. There are quizzes and assessments to do along the way of this 7 week course. It is estimated you need 1-2 hours per week to sit through the lectures and to complete the assessments. However, I found this to be more like 2-3 hours. There is a longer written assignment to do towards the end of the course but it's not overly onerous if you've done your homework and taken note of key concepts during the course. I very much enjoyed completing the course. There was a lot to learn from a science perspective but it's presented in a palatable format. You can always go back to watch the lecture again if necessary. I took away good practical skills and feel more confident to question any research on climate change and to have a healthy conversation with a climate change denier. Thanks to the team for a well-thought out course and great presentation. Oh...if you're a climate change denier, don't do this course. We don't want you to know our techniques. Of course at the end of the day, common sense and science-based evidence will win out.
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Student

10/10 starsTaking Now
5 years, 3 months ago
The course features instructors and interviews with some of the leading lights of the field worldwide, with clear and unambiguous evidence and reasoning presented by people who have done the hands-on work and come face-to-face with the climate denial so overwhelmingly apparent. Presented with balance, class and intelligence, the lectures and bonus material are a trove for people seeking resources to understand this social phenomenon who will almost certainly have cause to use this information and insight in organizations and institutions where any form of denial might impact behavior. Discussion forums, while somewhat awkward to navigate, feature both outstanding contributions from an active and involved student body of enthusiasts and -bonus- live examples of exactly the denial that is being studied up close. This is the fourth online course related to the topics at hand, and while it builds on and moves forward from other ... The course features instructors and interviews with some of the leading lights of the field worldwide, with clear and unambiguous evidence and reasoning presented by people who have done the hands-on work and come face-to-face with the climate denial so overwhelmingly apparent. Presented with balance, class and intelligence, the lectures and bonus material are a trove for people seeking resources to understand this social phenomenon who will almost certainly have cause to use this information and insight in organizations and institutions where any form of denial might impact behavior. Discussion forums, while somewhat awkward to navigate, feature both outstanding contributions from an active and involved student body of enthusiasts and -bonus- live examples of exactly the denial that is being studied up close. This is the fourth online course related to the topics at hand, and while it builds on and moves forward from other material, so may be considered more than a 101 level course, is as easily accessible and student-friendly as could be asked. (Aside from discussion-navigating issues.)
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 2 months ago
Excellent by all means. I particularly appreciated the encounter of two distinct fields of science: psychology and climate science. I liked the thorough presentation of the scientific evidences about climate change; the intelligent analysis of the fake arguments of the denying groups and the method to debunk them - by the way, it is interesting to apply the method taught in the course to the arguments of those who posted a negative review. I found the presentations by a range of knowledgeable experts helpful and to the point with a good pace in the lectures and interviews. A great job done by the teaching team. Thank you. B.
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Kristina Formuzal profile image
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Kristina Formuzal

10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 2 months ago
The course delivers exactly what it promises, in a highly interactive and engaging format.
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10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
5 years, 2 months ago
The course is very informative and worthwhile if you are curious about the climate science of Global Warming and diverse opinions about Anthropomorphic Global Warming (AGW). Most of the negative reviews of this course are coming from deniers who either did not take the course, did not understand it, or are deliberately misleading. The deniers are easy to spot, especially if you have taken the course and can understand their arguments. Most of the course deals with AGW science. The mechanisms for AGW and a rich variety of data supporting AGW are explained in depth, including temperatures, ice, oceans, heat balance, etc. It is the convergence of all these data that supports the 97% consensus, not just one piece. The course explains what scientific consensus means. It goes into detail about how the "97% of climate scientists agree" was calculated. Several independent peer-reviewed papers have determined this number. The met... The course is very informative and worthwhile if you are curious about the climate science of Global Warming and diverse opinions about Anthropomorphic Global Warming (AGW). Most of the negative reviews of this course are coming from deniers who either did not take the course, did not understand it, or are deliberately misleading. The deniers are easy to spot, especially if you have taken the course and can understand their arguments. Most of the course deals with AGW science. The mechanisms for AGW and a rich variety of data supporting AGW are explained in depth, including temperatures, ice, oceans, heat balance, etc. It is the convergence of all these data that supports the 97% consensus, not just one piece. The course explains what scientific consensus means. It goes into detail about how the "97% of climate scientists agree" was calculated. Several independent peer-reviewed papers have determined this number. The methodology behind the calculation is explained. I read one of the papers, by Cook, et al, and it clearly supports the 97%. The opinion sample includes only papers by climate scientists published in peer reviewed journals. That is, it is an expert opinion. Along the way, interspersed in the scientific discussion, the course presents the reasoning behind contrarian views, debunks them, and explains clearly the logical fallacies. Among the fallacies is cherry-picking the data and misrepresenting the cherry-picked sample. If you want to open your mind about global warming this course is for you. If you are a denier, it may help you to shed some of the prejudices you have learned from denier web sites such as What's Up With That or the Heartland Institute.
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Shannon Brisbane profile image
Shannon Brisbane profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 9 months ago
I'm really looking forward to this course and learning how to improve my critical thinking towards climate change. I would love to learn tools that will help me create an engaging and science based argument to those who are in denial.
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student

2/10 starsTaking Now
3 years, 7 months ago
College should be teaching you "how to think" NOT "what to think." Unfortunately, this course teaches the latter and is pure propaganda.
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Bob Wills profile image
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Bob Wills

2/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 8 months ago
This series appears to be blatant globalist propaganda. There are very little facts and data presented alongside wild and inconclusive leaps.
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2/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
4 years, 2 months ago
I think that the so called "evidence" that global warming is caused by man presented in this course is not only misleading but just plain out wrong. The scientific method goes like this: Ask a Question Do Background Research Construct a Hypothesis Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion Communicate Your Results An experiment requires all other variables to be constant besides the independent variable. If you wanted to test whether Co2 caused the entire global climate to change, which is hasn't in the past, then you need to create at least 3 exact duplications of the world. Duplication 1 would be Co2 and all other variables that effect climate in any way would be constant, duplication 2 would be all other variables that influence climate would remain constant except for Co2 which would increase at a linear rate, and duplication 3 would be all other variables that effect climate rema... I think that the so called "evidence" that global warming is caused by man presented in this course is not only misleading but just plain out wrong. The scientific method goes like this: Ask a Question Do Background Research Construct a Hypothesis Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion Communicate Your Results An experiment requires all other variables to be constant besides the independent variable. If you wanted to test whether Co2 caused the entire global climate to change, which is hasn't in the past, then you need to create at least 3 exact duplications of the world. Duplication 1 would be Co2 and all other variables that effect climate in any way would be constant, duplication 2 would be all other variables that influence climate would remain constant except for Co2 which would increase at a linear rate, and duplication 3 would be all other variables that effect climate remain constant except Co2 that would increase by an exponential amount. In each of these situations you would be measuring temperature and comparing it to Co2 rise. As you know, this experiment is impossible to perform which means that it is impossible to actually know whether Co2 causes temperature change or not. This means that every piece of "data" presented in this course is based off of climate models that have been fixed to show that Co2 causes temperature change. By the way, all the models have been wrong. Just look up, "climate models wrong" in google images and see for yourself. Also, when I say Co2 hasn't caused temperature rise in the past to see for yourself look up "Co2 and temp over 650 million years" in google images and look at the first graph. As you can see Co2 is currently at record low numbers and has had no correlation whatsoever with temperature. In addition to this, the earth has been warming for the past 1000 years since the mini ice age and at faster rates then now. Everyone is freaking out about nothing and this course is a waste of our time. (keep in mind that I have only presented a few reasons why this course is wrong)
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Student

2/10 starsDropped
4 years, 4 months ago
Dreadful, all of it. It didn't use appropriate time scales in its presentation. It didn't present counter arguments in a balanced way. Always making smug assumptions as to the rightness of their preconceptions. The academic gravy train in full steam.
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Homer Simpson profile image
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Homer Simpson

2/10 starsTaking Now
4 years, 6 months ago
Yeah; not sure who to report this to, but above in the sentence:"How to recognise the social and psychological drivers of climate science denial", the word 'recognize' is misspelled above as "recognise". You sorta need to fix that because it makes us look like dill holes. :-p Fix it! Homer Simpson (Yes Homer Simpson that IS my name - Okay, I just don't want to get a bad grade)
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Gary Moldonato profile image
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Gary Moldonato

2/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 8 months ago
Skepticism has led to History's greatest discoveries.
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Richard Barrett profile image
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Richard Barrett

6/10 starsDropped
5 years, 2 months ago
I'm thinking about taking this course but I'm bothered about the emphasis on a 97% consensus because a consensus isn't a scientific method (Argumentum ad populum). In light of this, how can I expect to be taught to 'think critically' about anthropogenic climate warming when there is such a fundamental flaw in the course's primary premise?
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Student

4/10 starsTaking Now
5 years, 3 months ago
The presentation of the material is good. However there are a lot of assumptions being made which don't stand up to close scrutiny. An example is the claim that 97% of climate scientists believe in global warming by carbon dioxide. None of the scientists holding this belief are physicists or chemists and have no understanding of the spectroscopy of carbon dioxide and the energy exchange behaviour in a mixture of other gases. This is a highly specialised area and those who study it make the point and give evidence for that point, that the spectra of carbon dioxide, the thousands of lines which make up the absorption bands, are such that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide will not cause the level of atmospheric warming which can lead to significant Anthropogenic Global Warming. Further there is no comment on the sample size upon which this claim is based and no inventory of the data in terms of actual papers where the cl... The presentation of the material is good. However there are a lot of assumptions being made which don't stand up to close scrutiny. An example is the claim that 97% of climate scientists believe in global warming by carbon dioxide. None of the scientists holding this belief are physicists or chemists and have no understanding of the spectroscopy of carbon dioxide and the energy exchange behaviour in a mixture of other gases. This is a highly specialised area and those who study it make the point and give evidence for that point, that the spectra of carbon dioxide, the thousands of lines which make up the absorption bands, are such that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide will not cause the level of atmospheric warming which can lead to significant Anthropogenic Global Warming. Further there is no comment on the sample size upon which this claim is based and no inventory of the data in terms of actual papers where the claim is valid and which demonstrate the link with carbon dioxide. I have spent a lot of time asking people for references to papers which demonstrate that carbon dioxide is physically capable of causing the warming claimed. None has been made available over some 9 years since I first wrote to the head of Australia's CSIRO Climate Science Group asking for such a reference. On the other hand, a very large number of credible papers demonstrate the strong effects of the sun in changing the climate over both short and long periods. In addition, a large number of scientists in Physics and Chemistry have shown that CO2 is not significantly involved as is borne out by geological evidence from the past as well as the recent "hiatus" which shows that warming has stopped for 17 years while increases in carbon dioxide continue to accelerate. John Nicol
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AL Phem profile image
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AL Phem

2/10 starsDropped
5 years, 2 months ago
Beware of the self-righteous, for when they attain influence they are the most dangerous.
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Student

10/10 starsTaking Now
5 years, 4 months ago
I have a feeling that this course is going to be fantastic! Based on the negative feedback below - for a course that hasn't even started yet - I also imagine that it's going to be quite controversial. Perhaps negative people should wait for the course to begin before they judge.
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Glenn Tamblyn profile image
Glenn Tamblyn profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 9 months ago
What an utterly bizarre thing. People negatively commenting on a course they haven't taken yet!!! Take the course and find out. You might be surprised.
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student

10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 9 months ago
"What a narrow-minded group of folks creating this course." ==> This review is exactly why the course is so interesting :)
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1/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 10 months ago
What a narrow-minded group of folks creating this course. This course title and discription show quite clearly that the you folks have moved away from science toward personality attacks. What is needed is a course that looks at the DATA--yes, looks at the published data submitted by both those that believe humans impact weather and that submitted by those that don't believe in human impact on weather/climate. This course and any other of the same bent is simply phychobabble attempting to force submission to a belief. Terrible, just terrible. For example take that first question:why the gap between the public and the scientists? Filled with bias it is. Some of the public ARE scientists. AND many of the folks pushing human caused climate change ARE NOT SCIENTISTS-nope they are not. But your question just glosses over that. Psychological and social drivers??????????? Psychobabble meaning NOTHING. Shameful. Just shameful...............Ra... What a narrow-minded group of folks creating this course. This course title and discription show quite clearly that the you folks have moved away from science toward personality attacks. What is needed is a course that looks at the DATA--yes, looks at the published data submitted by both those that believe humans impact weather and that submitted by those that don't believe in human impact on weather/climate. This course and any other of the same bent is simply phychobabble attempting to force submission to a belief. Terrible, just terrible. For example take that first question:why the gap between the public and the scientists? Filled with bias it is. Some of the public ARE scientists. AND many of the folks pushing human caused climate change ARE NOT SCIENTISTS-nope they are not. But your question just glosses over that. Psychological and social drivers??????????? Psychobabble meaning NOTHING. Shameful. Just shameful...............Rating 1/2 star because I couldn't give less. This course should be pulled from offerings.
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John Jorgensen profile image
John Jorgensen profile image
4/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 9 months ago
I suspect whom ever create this course has been duped by Al Gore, Hansen and others. I hope before he/she teaches it he checks the facts about Global Warming and Climate change. Sadly, millions of our taxpayer dollars are being spent fighting wind mills. https://www.edx.org/course- search?search_query=Global+climate+science
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5/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 9 months ago
Would that '97 percent of climate scientists' be the 75 scientists out of 77 cited in the Doran/Zimmerman paper published in 2009?. Please let us have the full story, properly verified, behind all the Warmist statements on climate change and not some half baked 'economy with the truth'unverified pronouncements
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Trevor Marr profile image
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Trevor Marr

2/10 starsDropped
4 years, 8 months ago
What a scam! Save your time and money! Demonizing a plant catalyst exhaled at 40,000ppm in every human breath, just because it went from 300 - 400ppm in 100 years of population tripling and enormous human advance, is pure insanity! The people should be ashamed of themselves IMHO! We will never get to the Jetsons by going back to the Flintstones!
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John Cook profile image
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John Cook

2/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 8 months ago
This course could be compared to Missionary Training. To convert the unconverted. If poor Columbus would have been labeled a Flat-Earth Denier, maybe his ridiculous notion that the world is in fact round, would have been nipped in the bud. Oh, and don't get me started on Copernicus. Consensus typically doesn't equal truth, but merely crowd mentality. How many people denied being gay, because the general consensus of their peers said that it was unnatural?
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