Wednesday 5th Feb, 1:45 pm
The Skeptical Science website refutes climate misinformation with peer-reviewed science. We achieve this by embracing a diversity of message formats, delivered through social media and smartphone apps, delivered to hundreds of thousands of people each month. To cater to a diverse audience, myth rebuttals are available at advanced, intermediate and beginner levels, from detailed, technical treatments to tweetable one-liners.
While social media has been an effective medium, we experimented with an alternative model in 2013, employing the strategic combination of open-access peer-review, mainstream media outreach and social media marketing. This strategy was adopted with the release of a paper quantifying the level of agreement on human-caused global warming in published climate papers, designed to reduce the influence of a two decade misinformation campaign manufacturing doubt about the scientific consensus. The campaign resulted in global mainstream media attention as well as acknowledgement from key public figures such as President Obama, Al Gore and the UK Minister for Energy Edward Davey. Another measure of impact was a strong backlash from opponents of climate action, with over 150 online articles attacking our research in the 100 days since publication.
Our approach was informed by psychological research into both the importance of scientific consensus and how to reduce the influence of misconceptions. While multiple methods of delivery are important, equally important is the construction of the messages themselves. I will examine the science of crafting compelling messages and how combination with diverse message delivery can lead to impactful communication outcomes.