More than 10,000 people have signed up to a free university course that aims to equip people with the tools they need to argue back against climate change deniers.
The course is being run online by the University of Queensland in Australia, and is being supported by some of the world’s leading climate scientists and public figures including the British naturalist Sir David Attenborough.
It was officially launched on 28 April, and the course’s developer John Cook says it has people taking part from 150 countries around the world.
He’s the founder of the climate science myth debunking website Skeptical Science, as well as the climate communication fellow for Queensland’s Global Change Institute.
Cook says that despite half the US Senate voting that humans aren’t causing global warming and the issue being a “highly controversial topic” in public discussions, “in the scientific community there is little controversy with 97 per cent of climate scientists concluding humans are causing global warming”.
“This course will give you the tools to identify, understand and respond to climate facts and climate myths,” Cook says.
“We’ll look at the psychology, explain the science, and examine the mistaken arguments that distort that science. This will equip you to distinguish information from misinformation, and respond to sticky myths with even stickier facts.”
In an interview for the course, Attenborough explains the need for better understanding among the public to raise awareness of the human impact on global warming.
He said: “By and large, looking for human effects on the natural world you just don’t go out and walk into the bush and say, yes that’s human effects. You need much more solid observations than that. Particularly observations through time.”
It’s not too late to join the free course, with the first of seven weeks offering an “Overview of the Climate Controversy”. Queensland University says the course takes no more than one to two hours’ work a week and offers a certificate to those who complete it.
For more information, visit the university’ website here.