What is it about?

Climate change is a controversial issue in America. People who work in companies with high carbon emissions have encouraged this by spreading false information. For example, in 1992, a group of coal suppliers released a video saying that we needed to burn more coal because our environment needed *more* carbon dioxide. They suggested that any atmospheric warming would be mild and pleasant. Campaigns like this work because people want to believe things that are reassuring and comforting. This book considers whether humans are psychologically strong enough to tackle climate change.

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Why is it important?

Climate change is not just an environmental issue but also a political and a psychological issue. It can be difficult to accept that our planet is headed towards a catastrophe, particularly if this means disagreeing with big companies or powerful governments. But we are making progress towards a carbon-free future. People around the world are taking steps to reduce their impact on the environment. Huge amounts of money are being invested in clean energy. Even oil companies claim to accept and support climate policies. KEY TAKEAWAY: There is always a risk that humans will choose to believe something that is comforting rather than difficult. This is one reason why people deny climate change. Understanding this is an important step in explaining the climate threat and persuading people to change behaviours.

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This page is a summary of: 8. A “Deceitful, Hysterical, Out-of-Control Rampage”: Fossil Fuels, Climate Denial, and Distrust Building, April 2020, University of California Press,
DOI: 10.1525/9780520968851-009.
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