The Science of Climate Change Skepticism
Climate describes weather patterns over time; as a common metaphor in climate science goes, “Weather is your mood, and climate is your personality.” While climate change — specifically global warming, a long-term increase in temperatures around the world — has been well-documented, the weather outside people’s front doors plays a bigger role in determining if they believe in the phenomenon. In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that people in parts of the country that have experienced more record-low temperatures than record highs since 2005 were less likely to believe in climate change.
The study’s lead author, Robert Kaufmann of Boston University, wanted to “really convince people of climate change.” He decided to use a framework most people understand: a bet. “The bet is that for every record all-time-high temperature, you pay me a buck. For every record-low temperature, I pay you a dollar. If the climate is not changing, the bet will be a wash … If the climate really is warming, then I’ll win.”