As climate data from 2015 measures as the hottest year on record, beating the previous record set only last year, a large snow storm ravages the east coast setting multiple snowfall and flooding records.
According to The Week, press and climate scientists came to the usual conclusion; The temperature record was certainly caused by humanity’s release of greenhouse gases, while a decent circumstantial case can be made that the blizzard was partly caused by climate change-induced disruptions in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation.
The usual chorus of climate deniers nitpicking the data and loudly accusing the entirety of the scientific establishment of fraud, has all but disappeared in recent months.
From The Week’s Ryan Cooper:
Anecdotally, I notice substantially fewer denier trolls attacking me online than a couple years ago, and the denier blogs seem rather halfhearted and dispirited of late. The Republican Party is still committed to doing nothing about climate change, but has mostly retreated to weird evasive slogans like “I’m not a scientist” rather than full-throated denial.
Such a development rather goes against what was becoming the conventional wisdom in communications research. Several papers over the last couple years, particularly one by Brendan Nyhan in 2014, have found that it’s basically impossible to talk somebody out of believing conspiracy theories. Argue against vaccine deniers on the scientific merits, talk about the risks of disease, or even present scary pictures of kids sick with rubella or mumps, and people are unmoved — or even double down on their beliefs.
Whether its the overwhelming science consensus on climate change or the physical evidence from just looking outside the window, the naysayers uniform voice has tanked in the later part of 2015 and into this year.
According to Google Trends, there’s been a marked decline in searches for “global warming hoax,” but only to be partially offset by a slight rise in “climate change hoax.” There was, however, a huge spike during Climategate in late 2009 where both measurements combined were far below where they were before that incident.
Normally, a blizzard is prime time for deniers to flap their lips about how winter disproves climate change, but when temperature hits the mid-40s immediately after an extreme blizzard in January, it’s a hard case to swallow.
Now that the undeniably empirically derived reality is staring one in the face, the only ones who are left are usually the fringe.