Climate science deniers can be grouped in different ways. Having observed them for more than a decade now, this is how I see them:
- The uninformed - ignorant about climate, doesn't read articles on climate. Strictly speaking the uninformed are not science deniers. They just don't know anything about climate.
- The misinformed - previously uninformed who've read & unwittingly accepted climate disinformation.
- Wilful deniers (aka wilfully ignorant) - previously misinformed but have since been exposed to climate science findings and rejected them (usually for ideological or other reasons). All of this category by definition are conspiracy theorists.
- Climate disinformers - know the facts but are in the business of spreading lies to feed the previous categories (usually for monetary gain and/or ideological reasons). All of this category are by definition weavers of conspiracy theories.
Why categorise deniers?
1. The uninformed
- wilfully ignorant or
- a disinformer.
2. The misinformed
- wilful deniers (including the wilfully ignorant) or
- a disinformer.
3. Wilful deniers (including wilfully ignorant)
4. Climate disinformers
- It's their job. They work for a right wing lobby group or think tank in a paid or unpaid capacity.
- They run a climate science disinformation blog or write guest articles or share cross-posts between blogs. Many of these blogs are a source of income for the disinformer, and the owners are continually pleading for donations to keep it going, often with false promises (e.g. will be publishing a paper that never appears, will be getting arrested for being a disinformer which never happens, will be starting a journal/society of deniers that never gets off the ground, etc.)
- They claim to be a contrarian scientist but actually speak to and promote climate science disinformers (usually running a disinformation blog). In the US, some of these are easily identified because they're called by denier politicians to testify on record for House and Senate committee hearings; and, more recently, were appointed by the Trump administration to key positions in science agencies in an attempt to misdirect climate science.
- They are often quoted by other climate science deniers and disinformers. (Note: disinformers will also misquote legitimate scientists. It's important to check sources.)
- They will write chapters and books to spread climate science disinformation. Even though hardly anyone will read these books, they are seen as useful to pepper blogs with denier quotes.
- They will go on speaking tours (usually paid) to spread nonsense about climate.
- They have written no or few scientific papers on the topic of their disinformation, or not in reputable journals.
- Promising to publish science denying papers in scientific journals (then it doesn't happen) - e.g. Anthony Watts and Jo Nova;
- Claiming they'll be persecuted for being a denier (persecuted victim/hero complex),
- Promising to start a journal/society of deniers to get large donations, and it never gets to first base
- Cadging donations to go on an overseas jaunt to attend a scientific meeting overseas to "ask questions" of scientists. Then squibbing on the questions - asking none.
And then there's the Murdoch empire
References and Further Reading
- Some sciency questions, plus a note on etiquette - HotWhopper article about Anthony Watts squibbing on his promise to question scientists
- On Plain Denial: Watts Dismisses His Own Evidence That is Counter to His Viewpoint - HotWhopper article about Anthony Watts' promising a paper still hasn't seen the light of day - nine years later!
- How Anthony Watts, persecuted victim and hero, valiantly thwarts imaginary roadblock throwers - an article about the much vaunted Open Atmospheric Society, which Anthony Watts used to cadge costly donations ($500 a pop) but has still never appeared - even the website seems to have disappeared now (here's the archived version).
- Table showing the various predictions made by David Evans (on Jo Nova's blog), which led to his promised papers, none of which never eventuated including his promised papers.
- Curses! It's a conspiracy! The Fury is Back Thrice Over - a long HotWhopper article about a research paper on conspiracy theories (Stephan Lewandowsky et al 2015).
- Confessions of deniers at Judith Curry's blog - HotWhopper article about the audience of the blog of a so-called "contrarian" scientist (aka climate disinformer).
- Marginalised, alienated and put upon: climate science deniers are not innocent - more on wilful deniers