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Climate Change and Conspiracy Theory

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Prof Jane Chapman.

This talk is open to the public and may be podcast.

Arguments about climate change are rife with conspiracy theories. There are those who think the whole thing is a giant hoax: a scam cooked up by environmentalists and left-wing scientists to empower governments and rip off consumers. But there are equivalent suspicions on the other side: a belief that the sceptics and denialists are just the front for an oil industry-funded plot to bamboozle voters and keep the fossil fuels flowing. The prevalence of these kinds of conspiracy theories is one reason why the debate has become so fractious and polarised. This talk will explore why the climate debate seems so susceptible to conspiracy theories and what that tells us about the current state of mistrust in democracy: mistrust of experts, mistrusts of corporations, mistrust of government itself. Why on an issue like this – of such enormous importance – do we find it so hard to believe what we are told?

This talk comes out of the work of the Leverhulme-funded project on Conspiracy and Democracy based in CRASSH , of which David Runciman is one of the principal investigators along with Professor Richard Evans and Professor John Naughton.

This talk is part of the Wolfson College Humanities Society talks series.

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