Wed
Aug 8 2007
08:31 am

Newsweek has an in-depth look at who's behind the global warming denial movement. Basically, Republicans and others not capable of critical thought are being manipulated by a massive industry funded propaganda campaign.

Of course, we already knew that, but this article has an interesting look at the history of the movement, who they are, and their tactics:

Since the late 1980s, this well-coordinated, well-funded campaign by contrarian scientists, free-market think tanks and industry has created a paralyzing fog of doubt around climate change. Through advertisements, op-eds, lobbying and media attention, greenhouse doubters (they hate being called deniers) argued first that the world is not warming; measurements indicating otherwise are flawed, they said. Then they claimed that any warming is natural, not caused by human activities. Now they contend that the looming warming will be minuscule and harmless.

Read the whole thing to learn how their propaganda campaign has successfully fooled 64% of Americans into thinking there is "a lot of scientific disagreement on climate change."

Read how Exxon and the American Petroleum Institute proposed a $5 million campaign starting in 1998 to convince the public that "the science of global warming is riddled with controversy and uncertainty."

Read how they infiltrated the Bush administration to have official reports sanitized and sprinkled with doubt through "careful management of what federal scientists and officials wrote and said" to make sure that "every report and speech cast climate science as dodgy, uncertain, controversial -- and therefore no basis for making policy."

Read how ExxonMobil is paying willing scientists $10,000 to write articles discrediting the latest IPCC report on climate change.

In related news, Al Gore spoke to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Singapore yesterday, saying:

"There has been an organized campaign, financed to the tune of about $10 million a year from some of the largest carbon polluters, to create the impression that there is disagreement in the scientific community. In actuality, there is very little disagreement."

Gore went on to say that "This is one of the strongest of scientific consensus views in the history of science. We live in a world where what used to be called propaganda now has a major role to play in shaping public opinion," and singled out Exxon Mobile as one of the major companies behind the disinformation campaign. Exxon Mobile responded by calling Gore's claims "completely false" and simply a recycling of "discredited conspiracy theory."

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Factchecker's picture

Thanks for posting this, skb

...well-coordinated, well-funded campaign by contrarian scientists, free-market think tanks and industry has created a paralyzing fog of doubt around climate change. ...

I think that sentence nails it. Here is the best compilation of links I've found on climate change.

Warning to Bush sycophants: realclimate.org is real science based. A true no spin zone!

metulj's picture

One of my favorites is the

One of my favorites is the use of Michael Crichton's State of Fear as a refuting argument. It actually violates few of the Denier's own "beefs" against global warming.

*It uses a consensus argument. This is evidenced by the "bibliography" at the back. Most of the contrarian consensus that Crichton cites is a consensus built from 40-year-old journal articles and the paid writers mentioned above.

*It is the work of a non-climatologist. The people who have been put in charge of the USGS (see note) under Bush, all of whom are deniers or "skeptics," criticize PhDs in physics, statistics, ecology, geography and geology (among other disciplines) that do not expressly hold the degree "climatology" as not being experts in the field. They claim that the ONLY climate science is climatology and all others are amateurs. It is a bogus argument because this would exclude the foundational work of all science if held to that criteria. For example, Darwin's graduate thesis was on theology. Still, Michael Crichton is a medical doctor, and by this convolution, cannot speak about the climate.

*He misconstrues Karl Popper's falsification principle to mean that since the only thing the scientific method can do is falsify all non-possible explanations, then the possibility of the explanation of anthropogenic global warming can be false means that it is. Popper never meant that and wanted to empower the scientific method to not be a deadend tool or, in other words, he wanted to preserve its power and not limit it to "proving" things. This leads to the final point.

*Crichton and all global warming deniers do not understand statistics. The natural curve is the natural curve. You can't put a kink in it because it doesn't work out your way.

Note: This includes my very smart, very well-trained uncle-in-law who holds that most chimeric of positions on global warming: "It is happening, but it isn't as bad as the other people claim and their claims are probably inflated because they are using linear models and satellite telemetry." Think about that one and then wonder why all of the USGS equipment in space is not being replaced....

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Rachel's picture

I read this article last

I read this article last night. I was glad to see that one thing they pointed out was the media's tendency to show two sides of an issue equally - even if the overwhelming preponderance of facts was on one side.

Now, if that would just sink in....

Andy Axel's picture

"We live in a world where

"We live in a world where what used to be called propaganda now has a major role to play in shaping public opinion..."

____________________________

I'm a guy in a Reagan mask -- and I'm running for President!

Factchecker's picture

"It is happening, but it

"It is happening, but it isn't as bad as the other people claim and their claims are probably inflated because they are using linear models and satellite telemetry."

Your uncle should read this response. If that doesn't answer his question, he can pick his reservations from the top of that list.

What's weird is that from this statement, warming could just as well be worse than that predicted by "linear models and satellite telemetry," as opposed to better. Is there a logical reason why inadequate models always mean to deniers that predictions are overestimated? They could be underestimated.

I think newer, more sophisticated models are actually more pessimistic about warming than earlier predictions and it's clear that weather and actual data trends are following worse case scenarios, rather than optimistic cases (that predict less warming). Ditto for certainty of anthropogenic (human induced) cause. It's getting worse and more certain. Bush made a statement stating the exact opposite. Either it was ignorance or lie, both being equally egregious IMO.

Factchecker's picture

P.S.

Cut to the quick within the above link and see if you think the modeling has been accurate.

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