Thursday, May 16, 2013

Climate Change Denial Conspiracy

Some downplay and deny that there is organized climate change denial in U.S. politics. But what the deniers have accomplished in this country is unique in the world, going far beyond the spread of disinformation. They have convinced more than half of America that there is no climate change and that there is no consensus among scientists that global warming is happening. They have also allowed fossil fuel interests to “capture” almost an entire political party.
National Journal: “The GOP is stampeding toward an absolutist rejection of climate science that appears unmatched among major political parties around the globe, even conservative ones.”

More than 97% of 4,000 international scientific papers analyzed in a peer-reviewed study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, were found to acknowledge human-caused global warming.  [Full text PDF (501 KB) - Video]

A recent Yale study found that only 42 percent of Americans believe that most scientists think global warming is happening. A full 33 percent of respondents are convinced that there remains "widespread disagreement" among scientists on this question. Among the 10,000 individual climate scientists worldwide who have expressed a position on human caused global warming in peer-reviewed literature, 98.4 percent endorsed the consensus that humanity dumping CO2 into the atmosphere continue to accelerate global warming and climate change.
Riley E. Dunlap, a sociology professor at Oklahoma State, and Aaron M. McCright of Michigan State call it the “climate change denial machine” in their book chapter, “Organized Climate Change Denial,” for the Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society.

In a note, the authors explain: The actions of those who consistently seek to deny the seriousness of climate change make the terms “denial” and “denier” more accurate than “skepticism” and “skeptic,” particularly since all scientists tend to be skeptics.

On page 147 of their book the authors chart key components of the climate change denial machine that together work to feed the American public misinformation that climate science is “all one contrived phony mess," as Texas Gov. Perry puts it.

Here is the conclusion of Organized Climate Change Denial:”:
Many factors influence both national and international policy-making on environmental (and other) issues (Dryzek et al. 2002). We are definitely not suggesting that organized climate change denial has been the sole factor in undermining efforts to develop domestic climate policies in nations such as the U.S., Australia and Canada where it has been particularly prominent, nor at the international level where diverging national interests are obviously a major obstacle (Parks and Roberts 2010). Nonetheless, it is reasonable to conclude that climate change denial campaigns in the U.S. have played a crucial role in blocking domestic legislation and contributing to the U.S. becoming an impediment to international policy-making (McCright and Dunlap 2003; Pooley 2010). The financial and organizational resources and political and public relations expertise available to and embodied in the major components of this machine, and the various actors’ ability to coordinate efforts and reinforce one another’s impacts, have certainly had a profound effect on the way in which climate change is perceived, discussed and increasingly debated—particularly within the U.S.
We have argued that because of the perceived threat posed by climate change to their interests, actors in the denial machine strives to undermine scientific evidence documenting its reality and seriousness. Over the past two decades they have engaged in an escalating assault on climate science and scientists, and in recent years on core scientific practices, institutions and knowledge. Their success in these efforts not only threatens our capacity to understand and monitor human-induced ecological disruptions from the local to global levels (Hanson 2010), but it also weakens an essential component of societal reflexivity when the need for the latter is greater than ever.
Guardian News - Heartland Institute wastes real scientists' time – yet again: This spring The Heartland Institute published a factually misleading book on climate change, inaccurately referencing research by climatologists around the world. According to Guardian's article, "The book's author, Steve Goreham isn't a climate scientist, in fact, isn't a publishing scientist at all." Goreham holds an MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois and an MBA from the University of Chicago. Heartland mailed his misleading book to environmental science professors around the U.S. The Heartland Institute is a right wing organization that has compared belief in global warming to murder.
It's not the first time those connected with the Heartland Institute published misleading articles and books. In July 2011 Forbes Magazine published an OpEd titled, " New NASA Data Blow Gaping Hole In Global Warming Alarmism." This OpEd was picked up and reprinted in newspapers around the U.S. as a "new finding," rather than just a republication of old discredited claims. The OpEd was written by James M. Taylor, a senior fellow for environment policy at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Environment & Climate News. Taylor, a lawyer who lives in Florida, has no academic or research background in climate sciences. See Conservative Think Tank Does Climate Skeptic Damage Control.

From Larry Miller's blog post - Beware of the Heartland Institute: Brought to you in part by the Koch Brothers: The Heartland Institute is a Chicago-based right-wing ”think tank” that publishes books, reports and polished newspapers under the banner of “free market” solutions to education, healthcare, taxes, the environment, telecommunication regulation and budgetary issues.  They are connected to Tea Party activism and see themselves as a “…clearinghouse for the work of 350 other conservative think tanks and advocacy groups.”  In a recent expenditure statement they reported spending over $28,132,000 since 1998 receiving funding from right wing foundations including the Heritage Foundation , Cato Institute, Center on Budget & Policy Priorities, Reason Foundation, Manhattan Institute along with corporations and individual. The Koch brothers are supporters.
Six-part series, "Unreliable Sources: How the Media Help the Kochs and ExxonMobil Spread Climate Disinformation," documents that the press routinely cites climate contrarian think tanks without reporting their ties to the fossil fuel industry.

97% global warming consensus meets resistance from scientific denialism - The robust climate change consensus faces resistance from conspiracy theories, cherry picking, and misrepresentations.

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