When it comes to climate change, this truly is a golden age—of fake news, post-truths, pluralistic ignorance, conspiracy theories, a willfully ignorant administration, and the Cranky Uncle. You know him. We all have one. That exasperating Thanksgiving blusterer digs in his heels even as the foundation of his denial thaws faster than the Arctic ice caps.
Written and illustrated by Dr. John Cook, cognitive psychologist and founder of the award-winning website Skeptical Science, Cranky Uncle combines humor and science to make clear, calm, and winnable arguments in the public controversy of climate change. Can we change our Cranky Uncle’s mind? Probably, regrettably, not. But Dr. Cook makes it easier for us to understand him. And armed with this knowledge, prevent climate misinformation from spreading further.
John Cook completed an honors 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 Stickandthe 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 vs. 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