Summary: The social science literature about climate change includes many oddities. A new hot paper about climate denial adds to that list, and illustrates why the climate policy debate has become gridlocked.
Another social science study of climate deniers makes waves on the Left: “Text-mining the signals of climate change doubt” by Constantine Boussalis and Travis G. Coan in the highly-ranked journal Global Environmental Change, January 2016. The abstract reads like real news…
“…This study contributes to the literature on organized climate scepticism by providing the first systematic overview of conservative think tank sceptical discourse in nearly 15 years. Specifically, we
- compile the largest corpus of contrarian literature to date, collecting over 16,000 documents from 19 organizations over the period 1998–2013;
- introduce a methodology to measure key themes in the corpus which scales to the substantial increase in content generated by conservative think tanks over the past decade; and
- leverage this new methodology to shed light on the relative prevalence of science- and policy-related discussion among conservative think tanks.”
“We find little support for the claim that “the era of science denial is over” — instead, discussion of climate science has generally increased over the sample period.”
The authors execute these goals described in the three bullets with detail and skill. From which they draw the conclusion of the last sentence. But their evidence provides little support for that conclusion; it is almost irrelevant to it. They state their conclusions in more detail. …