Al Gore is in the news today, exposing the oil companies (most notably Exxon) for intentionally misleading the public by funding research intended to dispute the scientific consensus on global warming. Gore cites the similarities between the manipulation of public opinion today the oil companies, and the tobacco companies who lied to the American public about the effects of smoking back in the '70's.
"This is one of the strongest of scientific consensus views in the history of science," Gore said. "We live in a world where what used to be called propaganda now has a major role to play in shaping public opinion."
After the release of a February report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, made up of the world's top climate scientists, that warned that the cause of global warming is "very likely" man-made, "the deniers offered a bounty of $10,000 for each article disputing the consensus that people could crank out and get published somewhere," Gore said.
"They're trying to manipulate opinion and they are taking us for fools," he said.
The August 13 issue of Newsweek (available online now) reports, in an extensive article titled "The Truth About Denial", that the oil companies are orchestrating a well-funded effort at misinformation and out-right lies.
The article is extensive, and damning - and it cites specifics in this multi-decade effort by big oil to lie to the American public, and highlights the support they've had in this effort from the Republicans in Congress and in the White House.
The concerted, deliberate intentional effort to lie to the American public is well-documented:
Groups that opposed greenhouse curbs ramped up. They "settled on the 'science isn't there' argument because they didn't believe they'd be able to convince the public to do nothing if climate change were real," says David Goldston, who served as Republican chief of staff for the House of Representatives science committee until 2006. Industry found a friend in Patrick Michaels, a climatologist at the University of Virginia who keeps a small farm where he raises prize-winning pumpkins and whose favorite weather, he once told a reporter, is "anything severe." Michaels had written several popular articles on climate change, including an op-ed in The Washington Post in 1989 warning of "apocalyptic environmentalism," which he called "the most popular new religion to come along since Marxism." The coal industry's Western Fuels Association paid Michaels to produce a newsletter called World Climate Report, which has regularly trashed mainstream climate science. (At a 1995 hearing in Minnesota on coal-fired power plants, Michaels admitted that he received more than $165,000 from industry; he now declines to comment on his industry funding, asking, "What is this, a hatchet job?")
Hatchet job indeed. The Republicans are selling off our future again, our children's future. Check out the entire article here.
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