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Sceptics shape language of climate debate, study finds

The contrarian claims of opponents to the scientific consensus on climate change has influenced the language used by scientists, a study from the University of Bristol suggests.

The study published on 7 May in Global Environmental Change argues that climate change denial in public discourse causes scientists to use more cautious language when discussing findings, which leads to a over-emphasis on scientific uncertainty.

In particular, discussion of a “hiatus” or “pause” in global warming is prevalent even in scientific literature when multiple lines of evidence show that global warming continues unabated. This language, the study says, represents the “seepage” of contrarian claims into scientific work.

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