John Cook at the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University recently completed a study tracking climate misinformation in internet articles. He discovered an increase in rhetoric denying that warming is happening — but he also saw evidence of an uptick in misinformation about climate change solutions over the last few years.
Other climate communication researchers say they've noticed a similar trend.
"In some ways, the face of climate denial in political rhetoric has shifted," said Matto Mildenberger, a Canadian climate policy researcher currently working at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
"It tends to be much more either, 'We can't do anything about it' or 'It's not important enough to do right away.'"
The researchers have also found evidence that climate misinformation is affecting public opinion about the nature of climate change and the efficacy of solutions.Deny, distract, deflect - does that sound like anyone we know? What about that guy down at 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue?
Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, said some of these skeptics use "Chicken Little catastrophic arguments," such as "maybe we ought to do something but we don't want to destroy the economy and cause millions of jobs and send the entire world into a great depression."
Leiserowitz calls these people climate policy "delayers."
"They've always been sophisticated, arguing there's large-scale uncertainty, that we don't need to act drastically, and that we need to look at this very carefully — and if there's a need to act, we can do it through innovation and non-regulatory things," said Brulle.
"This is 21st-century mass marketing and public relations technology being applied to this issue."
In a recent paper, Cook organized climate misinformation into five categories: "it's not real, it's not us, it's not bad, the experts are unreliable and climate solutions won't work."Even Liberals have to admit that the current administration loves that "we mustn't harm the (petro) economy" excuse. It's only a matter of time, even for the major petro-economies. This 2018 report from The Guardian contends that even the oil giants will succumb to their handiwork before long.