You’re Being Duped By the Climate Denial Industry

Since a whole lot of right-wingers gleefully trumpeted George Monbiot’s article in which he called for CRU head Phil Jones to resign, I wonder if they’ll be equally eager to promote his latest article — which documents the enormous amounts of money the climate denial industry is spending to trick people into believing there’s no threat from global warming: The climate denial industry is out to dupe the public. And it’s working.

I’m guessing … not.

Even if you were to exclude every line of evidence that could possibly be disputed – the proxy records, the computer models, the complex science of clouds and ocean currents – the evidence for man-made global warming would still be unequivocal. You can see it in the measured temperature record, which goes back to 1850; in the shrinkage of glaciers and the thinning of sea ice; in the responses of wild animals and plants and the rapidly changing crop zones.

No other explanation for these shifts makes sense. Solar cycles have been out of synch with the temperature record for 40 years. The Milankovic cycle, which describes variations in the Earth’s orbit, doesn’t explain it either. But the warming trend is closely correlated with the accumulation of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. The impact of these gases can be demonstrated in the laboratory. To assert that they do not have the same effect in the atmosphere, a novel and radical theory would be required. No such theory exists. The science is not fixed – no science ever is – but it is as firm as science can be. The evidence for man-made global warming remains as strong as the evidence linking smoking to lung cancer or HIV to Aids.

The third observation is the contrast between the global scandal these emails�have provoked and the muted response to 20 years of revelations about the propaganda planted by fossil fuel companies. I have placed on the Guardian’s website four case studies; each of which provides a shocking example of how the denial industry works.

Two of them are drawn from Climate Cover-Up, the fascinating, funny and beautifully written new book by James Hoggan and Richard Littlemore. If every allegation it contained could not be traced back to leaked documents (I have checked all the sources), their findings would be unbelievable. Nothing exposed by the hacking of the Climatic Research Unit’s server is one tenth as bad as the least of these revelations.

When I use the term denial industry, I’m referring to those who are paid to say that man-made global warming isn’t happening. The great majority of people who believe this have not been paid: they have been duped. Reading Climate Cover-Up, you keep stumbling across familiar phrases and concepts which you can see every day on the comment threads. The book shows that these memes were planted by PR companies and hired experts.

The first case study I’ve posted reveals how a coalition of US coal companies sought to persuade people that the science is uncertain. It listed the two social groups it was trying to reach – “Target 1: Older, less educated males”; “Target 2: Younger, lower income women” – and the methods by which it would reach them. One of its findings was that “members of the public feel more confident expressing opinions on others’ motivations and tactics than they do expressing opinions on scientific issues”.

Remember this the next time you hear people claiming that climate scientists are only in it for the money, or that environmentalists are trying to create a communist world government: these ideas were devised and broadcast by energy companies. The people who inform me, apparently without irony, that “your article is an ad hominem attack, you four-eyed, big-nosed, commie sack of shit”, or “you scaremongers will destroy the entire world economy and take us back to the Stone Age”, are the unwitting recruits of campaigns they have never heard of.

The second case study reveals how Dr Patrick Michaels, one of a handful of climate change deniers with a qualification in climate science, has been lavishly paid by companies seeking to protect their profits from burning coal. As far as I can discover, none of the media outlets who use him as a commentator – including the Guardian – has disclosed this interest at the time of his appearance. Michaels is one of many people commenting on climate change who presents himself as an independent expert while being secretly paid for his services by fossil fuel companies.

The third example shows how a list published by the Heartland Institute (which has been sponsored by oil company Exxon) of 500 scientists “whose research contradicts man-made global warming scares” turns out to be nothing of the kind: as soon as these scientists found out what the institute was saying about them, many angrily demanded that their names be removed. Twenty months later, they are still on the list. The fourth example shows how, during the Bush presidency, White House officials worked with oil companies to remove regulators they didn’t like and to doctor official documents about climate change.

Jump to top

Create a PageThis is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.
Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.
Last updated: 2016-01-01 10:29 am PST
LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!Register and sign in to a free LGF account before subscribing, and your ad-free access will be automatically enabled.

Recent PagesClick to refresh
Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop - ‘Bright Lights and Goodbyes’ (Live at Rockwood Music Hall) wfuv.org • Follow @wfuv: ow.ly Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop perform "Bright Lights and Goodbyes" live at Rockwood Music Hall. Recorded 4/18/16. Host: Rita Houston Audio: David ShnirmanCameras: Nick D'Agostino, Sabrina Sitton, Mary Munshower & Jim O'HaraEditor: Sabrina Sitton ...
Thanos
53 minutes ago
Views: 64 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Polyrhythmics - Fairweather Fiends (Live on KEXP)kexp.org presents Polyrhythmics performing "Fairweather Fiends" live in the KEXP studio. Recorded March 24, 2016. Host: Kevin ColeAudio Engineer: Kevin SuggsCameras: Jim Beckmann, Scott Holpainen & Justin WilmoreEditor: Jim Beckmann Photo thumbnail by Renata Steiner kexp.orgpolyrhythmics.com
Thanos
1 hour, 5 minutes ago
Views: 73 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Bored to Death - Blink-182 [LYRIC VIDEO] Pre-Order "California" now at: blink182.comAvailable everywhere July 1, 2016 Join us this summer on the road with The All-American Rejects, All Time Low, A Day To Remember & DJ Spider.VIP tickets are available beginning Monday, May 2 at 10amPT ...
Thanos
1 hour, 24 minutes ago
Views: 56 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Joana Serrat - Cloudy Heart Ft. Neil HalsteadNew album 'Cross The Verge' out 6th May. Pre-order & get instant downloads of Cloudy Heart & Tug Of War. iTunes: smarturl.it | Amazon: smarturl.it | Loose: smarturl.it
Thanos
1 hour, 33 minutes ago
Views: 68 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Enhanced Guidelines Appear for Safe, Secure C Programs MISRA, originally the Motor Industry Software Reliability Association, has updated its guidelines for the safe and secure use of the C programming language in critical applications. The MISRA C:2012 Amendment 1, announced April 22, adds fourteen new rules focused ...
Thanos
5 hours, 15 minutes ago
Views: 114 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Confirmed: Windows 10 Free Upgrade Will End on July 29 By now you’ve probably read Corporate VP Yusuf Mehdi’s Windows Experience blog, "Windows 10 Now on 300 Million Active Devices – Free Upgrade Offer to End Soon." Long story short, Mehdi says Windows 10 is now running on 300 ...
Thanos
5 hours, 18 minutes ago
Views: 163 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 3 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Russian Hackers Have 270 Million Email Logins, Including Gmail and Yahoo Accounts It may be a good time to update your email password. A report from Reuters suggests that over 270 million hacked email credentials—including those from Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo—are circulating among Russian digital crime rings. Reuters reports that an ...
Thanos
15 hours, 16 minutes ago
Views: 215 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Judge: Plan for Restoring Northwest Salmon Runs Not Enough This is an area where environmentalists clash - hydro electric power is one of the essentials to ending dependencies on carbon based fuels. The real problem is warm water; because warm water fish die offs will continue no matter ...
Thanos
15 hours, 19 minutes ago
Views: 226 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Turkish Leadership Split Spoils the Party It boils down to one man - and his determined quest to change the constitution and enhance his position. Image copyright Reuters Image caption Mr Erdogan may have miscalculated if he saw Ahmet Davutoglu (R) as a pliant prime ...
Thanos
15 hours, 39 minutes ago
Views: 246 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
The Ironic Ways the Target Boycott Is Backfiring for Conservatives A street preacher protests in a Portland, Oregon Target wearing a "No Sodomy In Hell" shirt and announcing to customers that they will "see the Lake of Fire on Judgment Day." Since conservatives launched a boycott of Target last ...
The French Rat
23 hours, 19 minutes ago
Views: 463 • Comments: 1 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 5 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0