Initial Publication Date: December 10, 2010

Muir Glacier Comparison
Climate and Energy Webinar Series: January 21, 2011 - Webinar

Misconceptions About Climate Change - Susan Buhr, University of Colorado

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Time - 10:00 am Pacific | 11:00 am Mountain | 12:00 pm Central | 1:00 pm Eastern
Duration - 1 hour. The presentation will be 45 minutes, followed by 15 minutes of discussion.
Format - Online web presentation via phone and Elluminate web conference software with questions and answers following.
Webinar goal - Assist educators of climate science in identifying the most common misconceptions of climate change and in developing strategies for how to handling these in classroom learning.
Registration - There is no registration fee, but registration is required to save a space (and because space is limited to 20, be sure you can commit before registering). Registration closes when the spaces fill or one week before each event, whichever comes first.
Contact - For questions contact Karin Kirk or Katryn Wiese (kkirk at or katryn.wiese at 

There is no shortage of misconceptions, misinformation and inaccuracies within the topic of climate change. Along with teaching evolution, climate change remains one of the most highly controversial topics in today's science classroom. This presentation will identify common misconceptions held by students and will offer pedagogic strategies for handling various types of misconceptions in the college classroom. During the discussion portion of the session, participants will be encouraged to share their own techniques that have been successful.

Dr. Buhr directs the Education Outreach program of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado. Susan enjoys the opportunity to learn about a wide variety of science topics through education work, and the opportunity to work with educators, students, geoscientists and social scientists. Dr. Buhr is one of the lead-PIs on the CLEAN project and she leads professional development workshops for science teachers who teach climate change.

PowerPoint file from this presentation (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 6MB Jan21 11)

Screencast from the webinar (Quicktime Video 584.8MB Jan21 11) - includes audio from the session

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References and Related Links

Pedagogic Strategies

Teaching Environmental Issues - This page from our Affective Domain site, describes methods for teaching controversial topics.

Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness - From the CLEAN project, this page describes using a literacy-based approach to provide a sound foundation to build learners' understanding of these topics.

Assessing Geoscience Concepts, Skills and Attitudes with specific strategies for climate change concept mapping exercises.

Sources of Information for Addressing Climate Misconceptions

Skeptical Science - This website offers succinct explanations to many of the misunderstood aspects of climate science.

Real (more info) - A blog by climate scientists. Offers excellent, up-to-date summaries of many climate topics.

Lists of Misconceptions

Earth Science Misconceptions - by Kent Kirkby, University Of Minnesota, with additions provided by participants in the session about misconceptions at the Teaching Introductory Geoscience workshop.

Background Information about Misconceptions

Global Warming's Six Americas 2010 - This update to the original study, documents shifts in Americans' views on a range of climate change issues.

Knowledge of Climate Change Across Global Warming's Six Americas - Results from a national study of what the American public understands about how the climate system works, and the causes, impacts and potential solutions to global warming. Published January, 2011.

References that came up during the webinar