Effectively engaging with climate skeptics

In this activity, students select an argument of a climate skeptic, research it, and write up a mock dialog that portrays a back-and-forth discussion between the skeptic and a non-skeptic, while presenting a scientific argument that counters the false claim.

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Jessica Kleiss
On the Cutting Edge

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Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

Educator should emphasize to students that the simulated discourse be respectful and constructive. It may be tempting to negatively stereotype those who oppose climate science, but that approach only widens the gap between the two sides. For example, the dialog could include questions that the students could ask the skeptics so that they could try to understand each other's underlying concerns, rather than steamrolling over each other.

Read more about this topic in a CLEAN workshop summary [link http://cleanet.org/clean/community/workshops/communication2012/synthesis... 'Teaching Climate Controversies'].

Teaching students how to respond to skeptics' arguments is an important part of helping them thoroughly understand and engage with climate science.

This activity could be adapted to work in pairs, can be acted out loud, or could be posted online.

Developer suggests using this activity at the end of an introductory climate science course.