Want To Know About Climate Denial?

Denialism is fascinating.

I'd been pretty well convinced that it's about the politics of big fossil fuel. But Dan Kahan has convinced me that it's more complicated than that. Nonetheless, we should blame Big Energy, which has trillions of dollars of fossil carbon in the ground, and will stop at nothing to get it out where they can earn money on it. The new economic buzz-phrase is "stranded assets" — we're asking Big Energy to leave their assets in the ground. It may be that we will need to pay Big Energy for those assets — to leave them there. Otherwise, they'll stop at nothing to destroy our atmosphere, to make a buck. There's perfectly good evidence that Exxon, the Koch brothers, and other big energy types have intentionally clouded the issue of climate change, stoking denialism, to slow our response to a crisis of which they're very much aware.

Our civilization (our species) is teetering on the brink, and we've got a bunch of folks in important positions insisting that

  1. they're not scientists, yet
  2. they're sure that humans aren't causing all this global warming (if there is, in fact, any global warming at all — and they're not too sure about that, as not-scientists).

It would all be hilariously funny, if it weren't so dreadfully important. Jon Stewart has had the most fun — and it is fun, but so very, very sad (Stephen Colbert is another class act at taking on the bozos):

  1. Jon Stewart takes on the House Science, Space, and Technology (with footage of the People's Climate March)
  2. Stephen Colbert takes on the "Not-Scientists" in politics.

Bill Nye has been out there, taking on climate deniers:

  1. Bill Nye Shreds Congresswoman's denial: “As far as Ms. Blackburn, it sounded like she’s been coached on denial bullet points or talking points,” he said. “I very much enjoy talking those people on but meanwhile it breaks my heart because we’ve got work to do. The fossil fuel industry has really gotten in their ears, and it’s really troublesome. We’re the world’s most technical advanced country—certainly in the top 10. To have a generation of science students brought up without awareness of climate change is just a formula for disaster.”

More on the financiers of denial, deniers, and skeptics:

  • Western States Petroleum Association has shown us clearly one way in which the fossil-fuel lobby works: they create shell organizations that sound like citizens groups, to promote their own agendas — "Californians for Affordable and Reliable Energy", "Oregonians for Sound Fuel Policy", and the like. It sounds a lot more folksy than "Western States Petroleum Association", which everyone might realize is a corporation with a mission to sell Petroleum, even if it kills people….
  • The fox is in the henhouse: Energy Firms in Secretive Alliance With Attorneys General
    • The letter to the Environmental Protection Agency from Attorney General Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma carried a blunt accusation: Federal regulators were grossly overestimating the amount of air pollution caused by energy companies drilling new natural gas wells in his state.
    • But Mr. Pruitt left out one critical point. The three-page letter was written by lawyers for Devon Energy, one of Oklahoma’s biggest oil and gas companies, and was delivered to him by Devon’s chief of lobbying.
    • Attorneys general in at least a dozen states are working with energy companies and other corporate interests, which in turn are providing them with record amounts of money for their political campaigns, including at least $16 million this year.
    • “When you use a public office, pretty shamelessly, to vouch for a private party with substantial financial interest without the disclosure of the true authorship, that is a dangerous practice,” said David B. Frohnmayer, a Republican who served a decade as attorney general in Oregon. “The puppeteer behind the stage is pulling strings, and you can’t see. I don’t like that. And when it is exposed, it makes you feel used.”
    • “It is a magnificent and noble institution, the office of attorney general, as it is truly the lawyer for the people,” said Terry Goddard, a Democrat who served two terms as Arizona’s attorney general and who, like Mr. Frohnmayer, reviewed copies of the documents collected by The Times. “That independence is clearly at risk here. What is happening diminishes the reputation of individual attorneys general and the community as a group.”
    • Without apparent irony Mr. Pruitt, who shamelessly allows those who write his letters for him (and who also fund his campaign) says this: “We are living in the midst of a constitutional crisis,” Mr. Pruitt told energy industry lobbyists and conservative state legislators at a conference in Dallas in July, after being welcomed with a standing ovation. “The trajectory of our nation is at risk and at stake as we respond to what is going on.”
  • Climate Myths from Politicians: This page features quotes from politicians who repeat debunked climate myths. Click on any politician to see a list of their quotes as well as what the science says about their climate myths.
  • Climate Skeptics and Deniers:
  • Here's a sample Denier website: "They debunk such climate-change myths as the looming extinction of polar bears; the possibility of rising sea levels drowning New York; and famine caused by warming." You can even order their book: Saving the Planet with Pesticides & Plastic
  • Science doesn’t mean that much when it comes to arguing with climate deniers: A new study finds that "believers" and "skeptics" are fueled by mutual antagonism
  • This great article has a veritable "who's who" of climate denial.
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