Sir David Attenborough and UQ's John Cook.
Sir David Attenborough and UQ's John Cook.
21 April 2015

Researchers from around the world have contributed to a new University of Queensland course that uncovers why the topic of climate change is so controversial, exploding a number of climate myths along the way.

The free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) includes renowned researchers from universities in Canada, USA and the UK – and even Sir David Attenborough lends his support.

UQ Global Change Institute Climate Communication Fellow and MOOC coordinator John Cook said the course tackled climate myths and exposed techniques used to mislead the public.

“97 per cent of climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming, however, less than half of Australians are aware of humanity’s role in climate change, while half of the US Senate has voted that humans weren’t causing global warming,” he said.

“This free course explains why there is such a huge gap between the scientific community and the public.”

He said removing this gap was an important step in ensuring science supported policy development, leading to maximum benefit for communities, economies and the environment.

The course, Making Sense of Climate Science Denial, is a seven-week program featuring interviews with 75 notable scientific experts.

"The key to understanding the controversy is the science of science denial,” Mr Cook said.

“Our course looks at what's driving climate science denial and the most common myths about climate change.

“We’ll also examine what the science says about how to respond to science denial, equipping participants with the tools they need to see through the fog of denialism."

Mr Cook interviewed leading scientists and researchers in England, the USA, Canada and Australia, with Sir David Attenborough a stand-out star.

Other scientists interviewed for the MOOC include Merchants of Doubt author Naomi Oreskes, and Katharine Hayhoe, who has been named one of Time Magazine’s “100 most influential people”

The course incorporates climate science and the psychology of climate change to explain the most common climate myths and to detail how to respond to them.

"This isn’t just a climate MOOC. It’s a MOOC about how people think about climate change," Mr Cook said.

The seven-week course begins on 28 April.

The UQx course is offered via the edX not-for-profit online learning platform. Enrolments can be made at:

Thousands of students from more than 130 countries have already enrolled.


High-quality video of course material and interviews are available upon request.

A video trailer is available at

Media: Global Change Institute, Adam Harper, +61 (0) 418 201 205,