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

Jeffrey A. Harvey (Corresponding author), Daphne van den Berg, Jacintha Ellers, Remko Kampen, Thomas W. Crowther, Peter Roessingh, Bart Verheggen, Rascha J. M. Nuijten, Eric Post, Stephan Lewandowsky, Ian Stirling, Meena Balgopal, Steven C. Amstrup, Michael E. Mann

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberbix133
Pages (from-to)281-287
JournalBioScience
Volume68
Issue number4
Early online date29 Nov 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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Keywords

  • international

Cite this

Harvey, J. A., van den Berg, D., Ellers, J., Kampen, R., Crowther, T. W., Roessingh, P., Verheggen, B., Nuijten, R. J. M., Post, E., Lewandowsky, S., Stirling, I., Balgopal, M., Amstrup, S. C., & Mann, M. E. (2018). Internet Blogs, Polar Bears, and Climate-Change Denial by Proxy. BioScience, 68(4), 281-287. [bix133]. https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/bix133