Friday :: Apr 24, 2009

Their Own Scientists Refuted Fossil Fuels Industry Climate Change Denial


by Turkana

Oh, the charm of the fossil fuels industry. In an effort to prevent public awareness of the growing climate crisis they do so much to create, they concocted an astroturf front with the Orwellian moniker Global Climate Coalition. The purpose of which was, of course, to deny its industry's role in creating climate change. Thereby exacerbating the problem of climate change. Which does, actually, make it a coalition on global climate. A coalition determined to recklessly play a giant chemistry experiment with the climate, as long as its industry can make massive profits off it.

According to today's New York Times:

For more than a decade the Global Climate Coalition, a group representing industries with profits tied to fossil fuels, led an aggressive lobbying and public relations campaign against the idea that emissions of heat-trapping gases could lead to global warming.

“The role of greenhouse gases in climate change is not well understood,” the coalition said in a scientific “backgrounder” provided to lawmakers and journalists through the early 1990s, adding that “scientists differ” on the issue

And it should come as no surprise, then, to learn that this astroturf front was so determined to deny its industry's role in causing climate change that it actually engaged its own scientists. Who engaged in acts of science. And determined that, um, well, the fossil fuels industry does actually contribute to climate change. Oops.

But a document filed in a federal lawsuit demonstrates that even as the coalition worked to sway opinion, its own scientific and technical experts were advising that the science backing the role of greenhouse gases in global warming could not be refuted.

“The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied,” the experts wrote in an internal report compiled for the coalition in 1995.

But the lies work. As reported by New Scientist, in February:

Who understands the probabilities of climate change? Certainly not the general public, if psychological tests on volunteers in the US are to be believed.

The public, it seems, thinks climate scientists are less certain about their conclusions than they actually are. The results could explain why the minority views of "climate sceptics" get proportionally more attention from the general public than those of climate scientists.

It's easy to fool a lot of the people a lot of the time, when you have the money and media to play psychological games. Of course, anyone actually paying attention knows that there is literally no honest debate about climate science. In fact, there's this international panel of scientists which has been conducting comprehensive investigations, and making regular reports. They're called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They can be found here. Their most recent report was summarized by the BBC:

Billions of people face shortages of food and water and increased risk of flooding, experts at a major climate change conference have warned.

The bleak conclusion came ahead of the publication of a key report by hundreds of international environmental experts.

Which sounds bad, if you actually care about things like the lives of billions of people. Or war. But who actually cares about such trivialities? Certainly not the fossil fuels industry. You know what they care about? Try this, from CNN, from a couple days ago:

Exxon Mobil shoved aside Wal-Mart Stores to retake the top place on the Fortune 500, proving that Big Oil was king of the economy last year.

And what about the billions of people whose lives may be destroyed by climate change? Let them eat astroturf!

Turkana :: 10:13 AM :: Comments (12) :: Digg It!