Why climate change is the easiest news to fake

This article discusses climate change and why con artists pretend it isn’t real.

Climate change is intangible and complicated, which makes it an easy target for our era of fake news.

Why it matters: Addressing climate change, whether through government or private action, requires acknowledging a problem exists. Misinformation about the science, including inaccurate statements and articles, makes that harder. Concern about climate change has dropped over the past year among Republicans and independents, according to Gallup polling released in March.

Fake news and inaccurate climate information have been around for a long time, long before Donald Trump became president. But Trump’s election has enabled misinformation to spread by elevating leaders in politics and elsewhere who don’t acknowledge the scientific consensus on climate change.

We’ve seen this play out across different forums: media articles, congressional hearings and public speeches.

  • Republican lawmakers said at a hearing in May that rocks tumbling into the ocean were causing sea levels to rise, not warmer temperatures fueled by human activity.
  • The Wall Street Journal has run opinion pieces that question mainstream climate science consensus. Some raise important points, but others are deeply inaccurate, such as this one in May that said sea level is rising but not because of climate change.
  • Trump, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and others in the administration have repeatedly raised doubts that humans have an impact on climate change.

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