Five Ways to Detect Climate Denying Rubbish


iStock_000003759052MediumNever before have so many been mislead by so much money spent by the so very few. All without the slightest attention to the truth.

I’m talking about those who deny proven climate science. Deniers, sometimes aptly called “confusionists,” want to mislead us so our leaders won’t move to battle the scourge of our time. Because if leaders act, profits of the fossil fuel companies and the whole fake universe of climate denial will come crashing down.

Climate deniers are gearing up for an event they really fear: the release next week of the fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC. It will again reaffirm that climate change is a huge problem and that it’s being caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

The IPCC, founded in 1988 by the U.N. and the World Meteorological Organization, will issue a report dripping with authority. The assessments will not be written by paid groups, but by scientists who volunteer their time.

Because of this climate deniers, who are paid by groups with agendas, are laying it on thick now, producing reports and writing op eds in the usual media outlets that will print their rubbish without any basic fact checking.

But this column is not for the deniers of science, they are lost to their Midas grip.

This column is for all the rest of us going about our workeek unclear how to respond to the conflicting rattle and hum of the climate change debate. But let’s simplify it: Is the planet warming due to the concentration of greenhouse gases?

The answer from 97 percent of the world’s scientists is yes, the planet is warming and we are in the midst of possibly catastrophic changes. And we need to act to mitigate the worst of it.

So why all the doubt?  Scientists have traditionally been held in high esteem in our culture. With their exacting standards, the proven peer review process, they’ve pried open vast secrets of our awesome universe.

But today too many doubt the smartest minds who are uncovering the biggest and scariest things happening to our planet. You can thank the merchants of carbon, the Lord Voldemorts of our time, for this. They are determined to cloud the issues for their benefit — and to your detriment.

The art of attacking science has been growing over the past few decades. Many trace the origins to the tobacco wars. Big tobacco worked feverishly to prevent a government crackdown on their lethal product, including using dubious science to sow confusion over whether there is a link between nicotine and cancer. The strategy was best summed in one memo from a tobacco company:

“Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the “body of fact” that exists in the mind of the general public.  It is also the means of establishing a controversy.”

This strategy, as documented in the great book, “Merchants of Doubt,” became a  template for big companies trying to stave off government oversight, including the battles over acid rain and protecting the ozone layer.

Now big oil, the Koch Brothers, Exxon and the like, are pouring millions into campaigns to confuse the public over science that is established and proven. They have created a fake universe of front organizations, lobbyists and even some compliant scientists.

“Many organizations have settled in the Potemkin village of climate change denial,” wrote scientist Michael Mann in his book, “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars.”

“The corporate PR campaign  has gone viral, spawning a denial movement that is distributed, decentralized and largely immune to reasoned response,” according to an exhaustive 66-page study, Dealing in Doubt, produced by Greenpeace.

Greenpeace says ExxonMobil spent $27.4 million to support the climate denial universe between 1998-2012. In 2010, Greenpeace revealed that the Koch Brothers, with their vast resource holdings, funneled at least $67 million since 1997 to climate denial organizations. As well, Greenpeace says two groups, Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund, which allow companies to secretly donate to climate denying causes, have lavished $146 million on more than 100 groups between 2002-2011.

And this not even counting the money fossil fuel groups pay to U.S. politicians. It’s not a coincidence that one third of U.S. law makers are climate deniers.

Yeah, so first they pollute the skies, then our minds and then our elected representatives.

How can you know the difference between the truth and the falsehoods? Here are five tests:

1. Climate deniers quote from a small group of so-called experts who rarely do any original research, let alone subject their ‘work’ to the peer review process.

2. Climate deniers usually treat the environment as a joke and think it’s funny to viciously attack established climate scientists.

3. Articles in suspect news organizations rarely quote at length or provide links to the latest scientific findings they are attempting to refute. The authors make blanket statements like “I believe a new ice age is underway” — all without the slightest factual backup.

4. Articles and papers published by climate deniers all tend to sound the same. They have an uncanny ability to sing from the same misleading song sheet.

5. Climate deniers say there are two sides to the debate over global warming, when there are not. Climate science is settled. The real debate is how we respond to it — not whether it’s happening.

A closing thought from Philip Roth, from his novel “The Plot Against America:”

“To have enslaved America with this hocus-pocus! To have captured the mind of the world’s greatest nation without uttering a single word of truth!”

Roth was writing a fictional tale of what would have happened to America during World War II if it embraced fascist ideals instead of open, democratic values. Now we are facing a new kind of hocus-pocus propagated by dangerous minority that is all too real.

 

 

13 Responses to “Five Ways to Detect Climate Denying Rubbish”

  1. David Rice

    This is an excellent article: thank you. However, my country does not have “leaders:” we’re a democratic republic.

  2. RedDog

    Stop looting the working class for GE, T. Boone Pickens and Al Gore. End the lies.

  3. RedDog

    Almost forgot to mention two of my favorite passages from President Eisenhower’s Farwell Address (it’s the one that has the Military Industrial Complex waning the left loves to use out of context)….
    “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present — and is gravely to be regarded.”

    “Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”
    HIs entire speech is well worth reading…it’s a very good warning against this kind of nonsense.

  4. PaulR

    Replace the words “Climate” and “Climate Science” in this essay with the words: “The Great Lord Zauron of Galaxy Rumulac 9”

    You will then realize that this person’s thinking is absolutely no different from any other apocalyptic cult-follower.

  5. Robbins Mitchell

    We climate SKEPTICS are always mildly amused when eco-nazis like “Russell” wet their carbon neutral panties with such vim,vigor and uncontrolled hyteria…..personally I blame anAL GOREtentive for most of the “warmista” disinformation and out and out reactionary propaganda

  6. JohnDale49

    1) How do you respond praytell to the recent exposure of several climate scientists covering up data at the behest of the UN?

    2) Whatever happened to global warming? Or even further back, fears over a new ice age? Were those scientists not reputable?

    3) A ‘healthy’ trust of scientific elites lead us to embrace eugenics as settled science, in case you had forgotten.

    4) Wasn’t the northern ice cap supposed to have melted entirely this year? Last I heard, it has experienced a growth of 70%

    5) Why do you insist on bankrupting the economies of developed nations even while admitting your lack of control over developing nations means the impact of your action would be miniscule even if climate change was real?

    Sorry, but we’re not buying this crap anymore. The climate on this planet has fluctuated up and down since its creation. Bankrupting us isn’t going to change that.

  7. Joe Pimpernel

    The climate-change hoaxers don’t have any facts.

    They have anecdotes and climate models that don’t model reality.

    They tell us that weather is not climate, until the weather gets hot and dry and then they say weather is climate.

    Everything proves global warming, nothing can possibly disprove it.

    All the “peer-reviewed” articles “prove” climate change because the US feral government will not issue grant money to any researcher who does not come to the desired conclusion.

  8. Craig Howard

    You rail against those who ignore science and then proceed to do exactly that. You did throw in a fallacy of authority, but it was hardly convincing and really won’t give any ammunition to those who agree with you. I’d suggest a rewrite.

  9. 98ZJUSMC

    Derp, derp, derp..so tell us: Why don’t your jimmy-rigged models and hyperventilated forecasts pan out? If the science is settled, it would seem that empirical evidence should confirm this, no? Debates not two-sided? Hmmm….how very totalitarian of you.

  10. mark abrams

    the IPCC report admits that the world has stopped warming since 1997, a fact the previous report refused to acknowledge. The 2013 version also admitted that there was a period of time in the Middle Ages which was also as hot as it has been in recent decades . Maybe if they stopped dripping authority everywhere they could just come out and admit the truth – we have as much to fear from global warming as we do from Godzilla arising out of Tokyo bay.

  11. Sez Eye

    Kettle…..black.

    This has got to be the funniest thing I have read this year!

  12. Science Guy

    Most amusing. Science is the testable, independently verifiable process by which a “skeptic” can challenge and test results with additional studies. On that basis, none of the models have been independently tested and data sets have not been fully made public. Ergo, there is no science “settled” on either side, but obfuscation aplenty. Until the science is independently verified, it is merely an attempt to politically formulate consensus with words. As one knows from science, some strategies for organisms are camouflage and puffery. This is surely true of an article which attacks those who would independently verify fully released and open-to-discussion-and-verification data sets. Until that happens, this is a discussion about politics, not science. As we know, politics is usually about wealth and power, and as one may see from the proposed “solutions” it all comes down to that today.

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