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Student Research Guide: Misinformation About Climate Change: Home

by Ava Ronning

Introduction to the Topic

My topic, generally, is about climate change misinformation, more specifically, who spreads climate change false information and why. Throughout my research, I found that there are 3 main sources of climate change false information: fossil fuel companies, government leaders, and social media discussions. I also found that there are two kinds of false information. There is the kind that's intentional (called disinformation), and that kind that is unintentional (called misinformation). Lastly, I found that there are common motivations behind each way that false information spreads.

My thesis is: "False information about climate change is mainly spread by people who gain something by denying or downplaying climate science, or people who are uneducated about the reality of climate change."


Keywords for searching the topic (organized by category)

Climate change

-  "climate change" or "climat* chang*" on databases where truncation is supported

- global warming

- climatic change

False information

- false information

- misinformation

- fake news

- disinformation

Who spreads misinformation? Some ideas:

- government

- president* (include the asterisk only if the database supports truncation)

- social media

- media

- news

- Internet

Best Databases/Search Engines

Start Your Research Here

Neimark, P. and Rhodes, P. Union of Concerned Scientists (Ed. 3). (2015). The union of concerned scientists exposes climate deception. The environmental debate: a documentary history with timeline, glossary, and appendices. Amenia, NY: Grey House Publishing. Credo Reference. Retrieved from              url=

This source provides the basis for fossil fuel disinformation. The fossil fuel companies mentioned in this source spread disinformation by saying that there are uncertainties in climate science, which there aren't. It's a comprehensive source citing strategies that fossil fuel companies use and contains a primary source- a disinformation strategy document explaining how the fossil fuel industry plans to reach the public, the media, and policymakers by means of fake science. The Union of Concerned Scientists is a science advocacy organization that does research and pushes for environmentally friendly policies.

Jackson, S. (2021) Climate Change. In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from

This article explains the history and magnitude of climate change up to the present day. This article is comprehensive yet organized, with a clickable table of contents. The author, Stephen T. Jackson, is the director of the Southwest and South Central Climate Adaption Science Centers. He is a well-experienced and highly-cited researcher with most of his work in environmental science. The source the article comes from is Encyclopedia Britannica, one of the longest-standing fact-checked encyclopedias for countless topics.


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