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Internet Blogs, Polar Bears, and Climate-Change Denial by Proxy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-287
Number of pages7
JournalBioscience
Volume68
Issue number4
Early online date29 Nov 2017
DOIs
DateAccepted/In press - 21 Nov 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print - 29 Nov 2017
DatePublished (current) - 1 Apr 2018

Abstract

Increasing surface temperatures, Arctic sea-ice loss, and other evidence of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) are acknowledged by every major scientific organization in the world. However, there is a wide gap between this broad scientific consensus and public opinion. Internet blogs have strongly contributed to this consensus gap by fomenting misunderstandings of AGW causes and consequences. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) have become a "poster species" for AGW, making them a target of those denying AGW evidence. Here, focusing on Arctic sea ice and polar bears, we show that blogs that deny or downplay AGW disregard the overwhelming scientific evidence of Arctic sea-ice loss and polar bear vulnerability. By denying the impacts of AGW on polar bears, bloggers aim to cast doubt on other established ecological consequences of AGW, aggravating the consensus gap. To counter misinformation and reduce this gap, scientists should directly engage the public in the media and blogosphere.

    Research areas

  • advocacy, communication, contrarian, global warming, skeptic, social media

    Structured keywords

  • Memory

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    Rights statement: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via Oxford University Press at https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/68/4/281/4644513 . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

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    Licence: CC BY-NC

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