Lewandowsky in Parliament

Thanks to Barry Woods for pointing out this event:


which is a meeting of the Parliamentary Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee 23rd January, 2018, taking evidence from three academics on the subject of “the effects of fake news and disinformation on people’s behaviours.” Lewandowsky was there, and despite the fact that the evident interest of the committee was on the question of Russian (or other) interference in elections, Lewandowsky managed to mention climate denialism three times, and get articles in this morning’s Sun, the Mail and elsewhere.





Here are the relevant excerpts:

MP: Is fake news and misinformation two very distinct things?

Lew: Yes, Totally there’s and I think there’s work now on categorising different types of misinformation… basically I would differentiate most importantly between specifically targeted curated lies that are designed to achieve a particular purpose on the one hand but that make a claim to reality, and the issues that come to mind there would be what I call climate denial, where there’s a systematic attempt to claim the same reality with an alternative story, and then on the other hand we have a sort of free for all constructivist shock and chaos misinformation and fake news that don’t even make a claim to reality any more…

Chairman: From what you’re saying, speed is an underlying factor in fake news

Lew: Get to people before the misinformation does, then there’s evidence to show that they will be able to filter it out better. One example is a recent study which I published with colleagues last year where we told people about the way the tobacco industry in the 50s and 60s was trying to create the appearance of a scientific debate about tobacco, when in fact the science was quite clear. Once you remind people of that precedent they then became extremely resilient to misinformation about climate change which followed the same playbook. So it is possible to give people inoculation like a vaccine almost against misinformation by pointing to specific rhetorical strategies that are misleading. But you have to get to them first.

Chairman: That’s quite interesting. So your view would be that a strategy to combat fake news is to talk about fake news quite a lot and make people aware that it’s out there.

Lew: Well, yes. The more you can get to people ahead of time and educate them about discernment and how you can tell a twitter troll from a real twitter person chances are that has a positive effect. But I don’t think it’s the only way to go by any means. We can train people, we can teach people, we can educate people, all of that, but I think we also need to change the infrastructure, the whole ecosystem of on-line information to make it harder for misinformation to spread.

[On flat earthers] …Now today, that same person, no matter how absurd the belief is, will find a community on Facebook, because there’ll be someone else in Denmark who thinks the earth is flat, ane then they’re joined by someone from Turkey and all of a sudden they have an epistemic community. The moment that happens, their opinion becomes entrenched, because they see no reason to change it. Social signals are there telling me: “Oh, everybody else feels the same way.” and we have data on that. In a recent Australian study on climate change, only 8% of people were found to completely negate the idea that the climate is changing, but those 8% thought that their opinion was shared by half the population. And that was because they were all in this echo chamber and talked to each other and felt their opinions confirmed, and I think that’s a novel problem that’s inherent to the technology, that people think, whatever they think, that other people think the same way.


  1. The Bristol Post described Lewandowsky as “… an expert in “misinformation””

    How apt. How hilarious.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Genuine scientists with genuine science to write about, don’t need to quote anything by Lewandowsky’s. As Climate Science now depends on Lewandowsky, it simply confirms that Climate Science is beyond its own tipping point.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So Lew of the dodgy reports, one retracted
    ..and a close associate of AMBUSH-named Skeptical-sci website
    (which is not skeptical nor scientific, but rather relies on PR activists cherry picking science titbits and spinning them )
    is advising MPs on evaluating what is fakenews.
    …That is incredible.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. GOLF CHARLIE (24 Jan 18 at 1:57 pm)

    Genuine scientists with genuine science to write about, don’t need to quote anything by Lewandowsky

    The thing is, hardly anyone does quote Lewandowsky. Adam Corner and his Climate Outreach group at Cardiff, doing precisely the same kind of climate agitprop work, never mention him, nor does the father of climate social science, Riley Dunlap at his old university of Oklahoma. Yet he flits from perch to perch like an ouzalum bird on uppers. Last week, he tells the committee, he was in Italy telling the European Union how to combat misinformation. Disappearing up your own recursive fundament doesn’t seem to reduce your media visibility.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Adam Corner and his Climate Outreach group at Cardiff don’t reach very far if they are ignoring Lewandowsky in Bristol, less than 20 miles away (if you’re a crow or seagull). But perhaps the Bristol Channel is a sufficient barrier.


  6. Climate Outreach are based in Oxford – recruiting at the moment – they finally seem to have cracked the grant gravy train.


  7. Like the first commenter, I thought Lewandowsky was a synonym for Fake News and misinformation. He definitely added to the annals of nominative determination with the well known Lew paper.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Point of order the climateoutreach.org website last mentioned Lew on October 21, 2015
    \\ Then our new handbook (a collaboration between *Dr Adam Corner*, *Professor Stephan Lewandowsky*, Dr Mary Philips and Olga Roberts) is for you.//
    Similarly in Sept 2015, four of their tweets mentioned him.

    Maybe they had a lovers tiff after that


  9. @BarryJWoods good job !
    I see you already engaged the author
    BBC Future is not mainstream BBCNews, but rather an arm of BBCWorldwide the commercial division & magazines.


  10. Latest retweet from @ClimateOutreach

    Jonathan Bartley Jan 23
    Great to have @climategeorge of @ClimateOutreach at @TheGreenParty Office Today
    looking at how to #EndTheSilence around #climatechange

    Yeh #DirtyPR #NotReality


  11. Climate Outreach……

    Are you aged 18-29 and interested in:

    * doing something about climate change?
    * sharing ideas and meeting new people?
    * making new & creative climate communications?
    * being inspired and nurtured?

    If so, then why not apply for the Climate Action Retreat in St. Gilgen, Austria, 12-16 April 2018? Travel and accommodation costs will be covered.

    During the retreat you will learn more about how to communicate about climate change in creative, stimulating, exciting ways. Together with other young people engaged in climate change, and supported by multi-media professionals and scientists, you will design new climate media formats to be shared with the community as creative commons. With this retreat we aim to discover some exciting new creative methods to open up new horizons for climate change communication.

    You will work with a range of campaigners and researchers as well as people who are new to the movement. This international retreat brings people from different countries at different stages of their environmental journey together to share and reflect on challenges. The programme will provide enough time for nature experience, reflection and exchange with other participants (through sunrise hikes, evening yoga etc.) to refresh and nurture our creative potential and to leave the retreat with loads of new ideas, impressions and a new network for future actions.

    The retreat is being organised by an international network of researchers and facilitators:

    Climate Outreach, UK
    ONCA art & environment charity and gallery, UK
    Climate Media Factory, Germany
    Austrian Youth Environment platform
    Austrian Environmental Agency
    University of Brighton Media Researchers
    University of Life Sciences and Natural Resources, Vienna.

    To apply, please tell us in 150 words or a short video about why you would like to come, what you can offer (e.g. ideas, interests, experience) and what you would like to get out of this opportunity. There are spaces for 20 participants.



  12. Barry, Why doesn’t Cliscep sponsor a Sceptical Climate Retreat for those fed up with the constant barrage of AGW agitprop? Learn how to laugh at Lewendowski, manipulate data like Mann, and hector like Harrabin. All we need is to select a lush local and apply for some of that big oil money that’s sloshing about.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. “The programme will provide enough time for nature experience, reflection and exchange with other participants (through sunrise hikes, evening yoga etc.) to refresh and nurture our creative potential…”

    It sounds like the classical “And second prize is… you have stay for two weeks”

    Other than that, it sounds like some other famous programs the Austrian Youth was probably encouraged to join.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Alan, you hit nail on head: skeptics must start doing more than blogging and debating iver holiday dinners.
    The failures of the climate consensus predictions, the case for being skeptical of any high profile claim, how to critically review data and so-called consensus positions, and so much more.
    All are valuable and helpful.
    They must be communicated better.
    The consensus spends large sums on identifying gullible fools to brainwash on (mis)communicating climate.
    How much could be accomplished teaching bright young brains to actually think?


  15. As for Lew’s performance for Parliament:
    It reminds one that back in the day the German communications expert Goebbels was also highly regarded.
    Lew should consider getting one of those snazzy uniforms that his pals at “Skeptical Science dress up in.
    That would help him to remind us all just where his heart really lies.


  16. Barry Woods: ‘The retreat is being organised by an international network of researchers and facilitators: … ONCA art & environment charity and gallery, UK …’

    ONCA is a hoot. It’s a state-funded eco org founded in Brighton to honour an art historian’s love affair with an abused Bolivian puma and specializes in state-funded workshops and festivals at which people are taught how to make flowers out of cardboard while Rupert Sheldrake’s son plays the ukelele and artists ask you whether climate change makes you want to hide under your duvet and someone does a ‘solo play without words’ in which…

    …sexuality is explored as an ever–present influence on the soma of popular culture. Codified movements are examined, magnified, expanded and pushed to extremes. Shadowy aspects of the feminine are given permission to emerge. A woman is gradually pulled down from the lofty mantle of her heeled strut. What happens when she meets the ground – when the earth seeps in? What happens when the goddess calls?

    (Sorry, luv. Try upstairs. There might be one near reception.)

    ONCA stands for ‘One Network for Conservation and the Arts’ but it also alludes to ‘Panthera onca’, the Latin name of the jaguar*. This is in honour of Wayra, the abused puma* that ONCA’s founder, Laura Coleman, fell in love with in Bolivia during her gap year and has been visiting as often as she can for the last ten years.

    Coleman is currently doing a PhD that asks ‘whether the form of the arts venue is fit for purpose within the context of climate change, and if not, how it can best be adapted.’


    *Don’t be a smartarse. ONCA is a lot easier to backronym than CONCOLOR. Men!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Barry,

    Thanks for the “Climate Outreach” reference. The program doesn’t seem to be using Dr. Mann’s 2016 work (1).

    Dr. Mann calls for folks to “Leave the Madhouse” (page 146) by giving a copy his book to folks who do not accept the “Science” of Climate Change. His suggestion is for folks “to move on to the solutions to the problem.”

    “Climate One” was referenced as a recommend site by one of the Climate Change Communicators. Some of the attendees of the Climate Outreach program may spend an hour watching, or reading the transcript, of a panel discussion entitled- “Is Climate Denial Destroying Our Planet?(2)” that features Dr. Mann; hence I thought you might want a reference to the post.

    1) “The Madhouse Effect- How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening the Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving us Crazy”, Michael Mann and Tom Toles 2016.


  18. “Coleman is currently doing a PhD that asks ‘whether the form of the arts venue is fit for purpose within the context of climate change, and if not, how it can best be adapted.”
    Pull the other one….


  19. the Climate Outreach Visual project (part of new UPCC recommendations on sci comms) – is funded by the KR Foundation –

    funding every member of the ‘green blob’ (or ‘big green’) possible – ECF 350.org, Sandbag, etc


    Climate Outreach get £268,000 euros for this project

    Click to access Annual-Report-2016-web.pdf

    It looks like, Cimate Outreach has finally got the attention of the big grantees.

    we will see more of them no doubt


  20. The climate retreat above – is funded by the Austrian state Climate and energy Fund..

    Promotional means 1,1 billion Euro from 2007 until 2016

    Number of promotional programmes 176 since 2007

    Number of sponsored projects from 2007 until 2016 more than 110,000

    — As I said, Climate Outreach seemed to finally have cracked the big green blob grantee gravy train.


  21. Even if Peter Ridd wins his case,what a position to be in. Your emails searched for incriminating evidence, criticised by the very institution that should be defending your right to free speech and supporting your cause for better scientific procedures. Can he rely upon the support of anyone at the University? Does three decades of work count for nothing?

    The reasons for the behaviour of John Cook University seem obvious – money and prestige. It, through its centre for coral reef studies has been pushing the link between climate change and the health of Great Barrier Reef. Ridd threatens this income stream and the credibility of research done.


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