edX: Making Sense of Climate Science Denial

 with  John Cook
Class Central Course Rank
#1 in Subjects > Science > Climate Change

In public discussions, climate change is a highly controversial topic. However, in the scientific community, there is little controversy with 97% of climate scientists concluding humans are causing global warming.

  • Why the gap between the public and scientists?
  • What are the psychological and social drivers of the rejection of the scientific consensus?
  • How has climate denial influenced public perceptions and attitudes towards climate change?

This course examines the science of climate science denial.

We will look at the most common climate myths from “global warming stopped in 1998” to “global warming is caused by the sun” to “climate impacts are nothing to worry about.”

We’ll find out what lessons are to be learnt from past climate change as well as better understand how climate models predict future climate impacts. You’ll learn both the science of climate change and the techniques used to distort the science.

With every myth we debunk, you’ll learn the critical thinking needed to identify the fallacies associated with the myth. Finally, armed with all this knowledge, you’ll learn the psychology of misinformation. This will equip you to effectively respond to climate misinformation and debunk myths.

This isn’t just a climate MOOC; it’s a MOOC about how people think about climate change.


WEEK 1: Understanding The Climate Controversy
During the first week of the course, we introduce the course content, interact with each other and complete an introductory survey. The week continues with an exploration of political consensus, the drivers and psychology of climate science denial and an overview of the controversy surrounding this topic.

WEEK 2: Global Warming Is Happening
In week two, we will look at the indicators of global warming and myths related to temperature and glaciers. 

WEEK 3: We Are Causing Gobal Warming 
Week three focuses on the ways in which humans cause climate change and the myths associated with the greenhouse effect and the rise in carbon dioxide.

WEEK 4: The Past Tells Us About The Future
This week looks at the history of climate change in order to model future climate change. We also address myths related to models.

WEEK 5: We Are Feeling The Impacts Of Climate Change
Week five covers climate feedbacks and the impacts of climate change on the environment, society and the weather.

WEEK 6 and 7: Responding to Denial
The final weeks of the course look more closely at the psychology of science denial and debunking techniques. We also complete a peer assessment that asks students to practice debunking strategies on real myths that can be found in today’s media.

Approach: mini-lectures, video interviews, quizzes, activities, a peer assessed writing assignment, and readings.
6 Student
Cost Free Online Course
Subject Climate Change
Provider edX
Language English
Certificates $49 Certificate Available
Hours 1-2 hours a week
Calendar 20 weeks long

Disclosure: To support our site, Class Central may be compensated by some course providers.

+ Add to My Courses
John Cook
Class Central presents
An interview with
John Cook
John Cook of the University of Queensland talks about the scientific consensus on climate change and how some are in denial of this. Read
FAQ View All
What are MOOCs?
MOOCs stand for Massive Open Online Courses. These are free online courses from universities around the world (eg. Stanford Harvard MIT) offered to anyone with an internet connection.
How do I register?
To register for a course, click on "Go to Class" button on the course page. This will take you to the providers website where you can register for the course.
How do these MOOCs or free online courses work?
MOOCs are designed for an online audience, teaching primarily through short (5-20 min.) pre recorded video lectures, that you watch on weekly schedule when convenient for you.  They also have student discussion forums, homework/assignments, and online quizzes or exams.

6 reviews for edX's Making Sense of Climate Science Denial

Write a review
9 months ago
Dr Michael White completed this course, spending 9 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
A very interesting course with application far beyond the subject matter. It would be very helpful for most people to understand media and public pronouncements. Some real treasures are included, such as: 'Logical fallacies; and the Dragons'. Excellent course!
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
a year ago
profile picture
Anonymous completed this course.
Lots of extended interviews with scientists were great. They're optional so the course doesn't have to take too much time if you just want the basics.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
2 weeks ago
Yeny C completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
Excellent course, gives you the knowledge and the tools necessary to, not just feel, but be properly equipped to deal with climate change denial
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
profile picture
Philipp Straub is taking this course right now, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful
2 years ago
profile picture
Susan Woudenberg completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
9 months ago
Atila Romero completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO

Class Central

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.

Sign up for free