Climate Change Deniers: Follow the Money

Books Merchants_of_DOUBTIn 2010, after 5 years of research, science historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, published Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming.  In it they located a small group of cold-warrior physicists who, once the Soviet Union fell, looked for other threats to free market capitalism.  They found it in government regulation and began working with the major tobacco companies to provide “scientific” argument that tobacco could not be shown to be damaging to health and should not be regulated.  That fight lost, they moved on to do similar work for the fossil fuel corporations.  The book was well documented and widely praised except, of course, by those who came under its scrutinity.

In 2014  Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Robert Kenner released a 96 minute documentary film, also called Merchants of Doubt, based on the book. [Available NetFlix DVD and Amazon streaming]

Books climate-deception-dossiersYou’d think that would be enough to open a few, necessary eyes — those which have believed the denials of the past decade or so.  Maybe a few, but not enough.  Now comes another broadside.  The Union of Concerned Scientists along with the Climate Investigations Center has published a 340 page report based of Freedom of Information Act obtained documents presenting the efforts to sow doubt and confusion.  The report is called The Climate Deception Dossiers.  It gathers letters, e-mail showing,

“…that the world’s largest fossil fuel companies—BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, coal giant Peabody Energy, and Shellwere fully aware of the reality of climate change but continued to spend tens of millions of dollars to sow doubt and promote contrarian arguments they knew to be wrong. Taken together, the documents show that these six companies, in conjunction with the American Petroleum Institute (API)—the oil and gas industry’s premier trade association—and a host of front groups, have colluded to intentionally deceive the public; their corporate officials have known for at least two decades that their products are harmful; and their disinformation campaign continues today—despite the fact that most of the companies now publicly acknowledge the reality of anthropogenic, or human-caused, climate change. [UCS article ]

Among the organizations fighting tooth and nail to disabuse the public of the facts was the infamous ALEC which as long ago as 1998 had workshops at its annual meeting about the dangers of climate science. As recently as 2014 this was in the program.

See page 17 on

See page 17 on

In the section “Holding fossil fuel companies accountable” UCS has suggestions for what should be required of the companies which have helped delay urgent action.

The full report is a PDF here.

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