Cranky Uncle vs. Climate Change combines humour, cartoons, and science to make sense of the public controversy about climate change. We all have a family member who thinks they know better than the world's climate scientists. Cranky Uncle delves into the psychology of why some people reject climate science, dissects the typical arguments your 'cranky uncle' might use at family gatherings, and outlines how to respond to climate science denial. Guided by psychological research into how to communicate science and how to refute misinformation, it features a recurring Cranky Uncle character that epitomises the older, white conservative male typically associated with climate science denial, an anthropomorphised (and understandably stressed out) Earth, and an exasperated scientist. While following the science, Cranky Uncle also embraces a creative approach, using cartoons and visual analogies to make the facts engaging and accessible to readers. From the founder of the award-winning website Skeptical Science, which has more than 300,000 visitors a month and over 190,000 Facebook fans, and has gotten attention from President Obama, John Oliver, Rachel Maddow, Jimmy Kimmel and many others (and been attacked by climate contrarians like Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum), comes a fully-illustrated, accessible, visually engaging, and science-based look at the psychology of typical arguments used by climate change deniers alongside strategic evidence-based tactics on how to constructively respond to their claims.
John Cook completed an honours degree in physics at the University of Queensland, Australia. While completing his degree, he often drew cartoons in the margins of his physics notes. After graduating, he spent a decade as a cartoonist and graphic designer. However, he never strayed far from science and spent his spare time reading climate research and debunking misinformation.
In 2007, Cook founded SkepticalScience.com. He began exploring how to combat science denial and completed a PhD on the cognitive psychology of misinformation. He found that inoculation, or explaining techniques of denial, was the key to neutralizing misinformation, and that parallel argumentation was a powerful way to put it into practice. This inspired him to bring together his two careers, using parallel arguments in the form of cartoons to explain the techniques of science denial.
Cook is currently a research assistant professor with the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, where he focuses on combatting fake news by using critical thinking to inoculate against misinformation.
"People are always asking me 'what's the best source for debunking the claims of climate change deniers?' Now I have an easy answer: buy a copy of John Cook's new book, Cranky Uncle vs Climate Change."
– Prof. Michael E. Mann, Author of The Madhouse Effect and The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars
"This rare book answers many of your pressing questions, such as what to tell your crazy Uncle Joe when he insists at Thanksgiving dinner that climate change is a liberal hoax. Thank goodness for this book!"
– Prof. Naomi Oreskes, Author of Merchants of Doubt, The Collapse of Western Civilization
"This funny and factual walk through climate science and its impacts – and common arguments against them – will leave you informed, recharged, and excited to see the sequel: Cranky Uncle vs Climate Solutions. I can't wait!"
– Prof. Katharine Hayhoe, Author of A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions
"Because the book is so humorous and well written, it's easy to forget that you're learning a lot of climate science as you read it. I highly recommend it."
– Prof. Andrew Dessler, Texas A&M University
"Cranky Uncle vs Climate Change is a fun way to learn about climate science and the psychology of denial. Come for the cartoons, stay for the science!"
– Dana Nuccitelli, Author of Climatology versus Pseudoscience
"Cranky Uncle vs. Climate Change turns climate skeptics into foils for Cook's main mission of educating climate novices – witty, sardonic, enlightening, and engrossing."
– Prof. Michael Oppenheimer, Princeton University
"Seriously funny! A phenomenal amalgam of clearly presented science and laugh-out-loud humor. Cook's cartoons will help you inoculate your favorite curmudgeon while offering enough inside jokes to tickle climate science aficionados. I love this book."
– Susan Hassol, Director, Climate Communication
"Through this illustrated guide, John Cook capably pokes, prods, and draws attention to incongruous, mythical, false, and contradictory claims made by a proverbial 'cranky uncle' in all our lives. This Cook book provides a recipe for both laughing and learning."
– Prof. Max Boykoff, author of Who Speaks for the Climate?
"John Cook harnesses the power of light-hearted humor and engaging illustrations to help even the most novice among us better understand how and why climate change denial gets the science wrong."
– Aaron McCright, author of The Risk Society Revisited
"Cook is one of the world's foremost communicators of climate science, and this delightful book fully lives up to its promise to shine a disinfecting light onto the moral and rhetorical morass that is climate denial."
– Prof. Stephan Lewandowsky, University of Bristol
"Another engaging contribution from John Cook for helping people understand the nuances of the climate change dialogue. But, using Lego to explain ocean acidification, that's just brilliant!"
– Prof. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Director, The Global Institute
"John Cook's new book helps us all laugh and learn, and in doing so transforms hard conversations into opportunities to communicate and connect. I'll be talking with my own uncle after reading this book."
– Dr. Sarah Myhre, Founder, Rowan Institute