Misinformation campaign derailing calls for action on climate change, says K-State prof

John Harrington climate change global warming Prairie Village
Dr. John Harrington delivered the keynote lecture at this year's Community Forum on Kansas Environmental Issues at Village Presbyterian Church.

For Kansas State University geography professor John Harrington, the data about global climate change is as clear as day. But a concerted campaign of misinformation, he says, has made the issue politically foggy.

“The message has been around for 35 years,” he said. “The planet is warming. And now we now know that humans are contributing to it.”

Harrington was the keynote speaker at the Tenth Annual Community Forum on Kansas Environmental issues at Village Presbyterian Church. The event is put on by the Kansas Natural Resource Council, the Prairie Village Environmental Committee, and the Environmental Action Committee of Village Presbyterian.

Harrington said advances in modeling techniques over the previous decades have allowed scientists to more accurately describe the causes of global warming. But despite increasing surety among the scientific community, the public is showing increasing doubt – and decreasing lack of interest – about the issue.

Recent studies, Harrington said, show the number of people who report being openly dismissive of global climate change is up, while the number of people who report being alarmed about climate change is down.

“The problem is, we have an active campaign out there trying to get out misinformation,” Harrington said. “These are the same tactics the tobacco industry used.”