A decade ago, when we ranked the most controversial articles on Wikipedia, George W. Bush topped the list, and global warming ranked fifth.

The article on global warming has now been relabeled climate change, but it remains one of the most divisive topics of our time, and one often discussed on social media.

Make no mistake: we are great fans of social media and arguably tweeted this article when you read it.

This may be attributable to the way that climate change is often portrayed primarily as a political issue: something one can choose whether one wants to support it; something that all will see as a political issue.

At a time when so much is unclear, we are sure of one thing: the significance of experts.

Social media can be regarded as a marketplace of ideas that offers an open forum to share facts and opinions and, importantly for academics, to educate the public about their research.

Our recent research, published in Climatic Change, demonstrated how tools such as computerised theme modeling and mood analysis can be used to monitor public discourse on such topics as climate change, nutrition, and climate politics.

Politicians and policymakers have long tended to avoid culturally controversial issues, and polarization of public opinion has been proven to weaken leaders “accountability when deciding big things.

Climate change

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Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. (wikipedia)

Effects of climate change

The effects of climate change span the physical environment, ecosystems and human societies. They also include the economic and social changes which stem from living in a warmer world. (wikipedia)

University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is a collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096, (wikipedia)

IPCC Fifth Assessment Report

The Fifth Assessment Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the fifth in a series of such reports and was completed in 2014. As had been the case in the past, (wikipedia)

Oxford Brookes University

Oxford Brookes University is a public research university in Oxford, England. It is a new university, having received university status through the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. (wikipedia)

Taha Yasseri

Taha Yasseri is a physicist and sociologist known for his research on Wikipedia and computational social science. (wikipedia)

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations mandated to provide objective scientific information relevant to understanding human-induced climate (wikipedia)