Here’s today’s example of the absolutely horrible anti-science propaganda relentlessly pushed out there by right wing groups, as CNBC promotes an Exxon-funded physicist as an expert on climate change despite the fact that he has no demonstrated expertise on the subject, and he launches into a bizarre rant comparing the “demonization of carbon dioxide” to the Nazi holocaust. Arrrgh.
Physics Professor William Happer has published no peer-reviewed research on climate change, yet co-host Joe Kernen introduced him as an “industry expert” on the July 14 edition of Squawk Box. After a softball interview with Kernen, co-host Andrew Ross Sorkin challenged Happer for “not believ[ing] in climate change” — to which Happer responded by telling Sorkin to “shut up.” Sorkin then asked Happer about comments he made to The Daily Princetonian in 2009 comparing climate science to Nazi propaganda. Happer doubled down on his comments, stating that “the demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler. Carbon dioxide is actually a benefit to the world, and so were the Jews.”
Sorkin also noted that Happer, who has suggested that people should be “clamoring for more atmospheric carbon dioxide,” is the chairman of the Marshall Institute, which received $865,000 from ExxonMobil from 1998 to 2011.
The influence of carbon dioxide on the “greenhouse effect” has been well understood by scientists for more than 100 years, by the way. This isn’t “demonization,” it’s scientific fact — and it’s incredibly irresponsible of CNBC to promote this kind of nonsensical bad craziness.
Happer’s group, the Marshall Institute, was also one of the right wing think tanks that labored to create public doubt about the health risks of tobacco.
Naomi Oreskes states that the institute has, in order to resist and delay regulation, lobbied politically to create a false public perception of scientific uncertainty over the negative effects of second-hand smoke, the carcinogenic nature of tobacco smoking, the existence of acid rain, and on the evidence between CFCs and ozone depletion.