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Monday, January 7, 2013

Countering Monckton's climate denial on college campuses

Countering climate denial on college campuses

Christopher Monckton at Union College
by Jeff Corbin, Garnet Goes Green, January 3, 2013

On March 5, 2012, Christopher Monckton, a self-promoted speaker who questions the reality of climate science, presented his views of climate change science at Union College. Monckton's visit, funded by Collegians for a Conservative Tomorrow (CFACT), was one stop of a nationwide campus speaking event.

You can see video of Monckton's presentation here. You can also read coverage about his visit and the response by Union's community in the Concordiensis. The purpose of Monckton's visit was to muddy the waters with respect to climate change - to cast doubt on the validity of findings that have beenoverwhelmingly supported by the scientific community.
Erin Delman ('12) and other students

Instead, however, Monckton's visit galvanized students and faculty to highlight the widely accepted facts of climate change and the nature of expert scientific consensus on this topic.
We directly contrasted Monckton's statements with posters and reading materials outside his speaking location, engaged him during the Q&A session that followed his remarks, and most significantly, hosted a "Reality of Climate Science" discussion immediately following the CFACT event. These efforts were detailed in a recent issue of EOS

Far from casting doubt on climate change, the attention and publicity surrounding Monckton's visit engaged our community in a discussion of climate science to a far greater extent than would have occurred if he had not come to campus.

I was interested in the extent to which his visit and the counter-presentations shifted student attitudes about the realities of climate change. In October 2012, I surveyed members of the sophomore, junior, and senior classes at Union College. 125 students participated, and results showed that students whose opinions shifted were far more likely to have become more convinced of climate change's reality, and the role that humans are playing. (A more complete presentation of results can be seen here, from a poster I presented at the meeting of the American Geophysicists Union in 2012.)

So, thank you Mr. Monckton, and CFACT, for bringing your viewpoint to campus. Your visit did change students' minds -- just not in the direction you expected.
Coverage of Monckton's visit in a variety of media

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