Thursday, 9 July 2009

Funding for Climate Change and Global Warming deniers

Imagine the situation. YOU are the director of a large multi-national company that relies on the use or sale of of fossil fuel, say coal or oil, in order to pay your salary when along comes someone that points out that what you are doing, business wise, is destroying the future environment. What do you do, do you say ‘quite correct’, change things and risk shareholders wrath and risk losing your profitability, bonus and lifestyle, or do you rubbish the messenger calling him, her or them ‘long hair hippies’, ‘bleeding hearted tree hugging environmentalists’ or ‘religious creationist nutcases?’

OK, so you have taken the line of least resistance and gone the second route, after all, you have the advertising revenue and so control over much of the media. It all works to your plan, then along comes respected and influential Al Gore and says that the long haired tree huggers etc are right... what next?

Easy, you rubbish Al Gore and that way you also rubbish all those that agree with him!

Do you remember the cigarette industries promotion of those that said that smoking did not harm your health and criticism of those that said it did? Don’t lose sight of that image and read on.

To directly oppose the climate change lobby would seem, for an fossil fuel reliant company as being a tad incorrect, but how about funding bodies that oppose them? For instance, in the UK there was a film on TV called the ‘Great Global warming Swindle’ that was peddled as the answer to Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. This argued that most global warming over the past century occurred between 1900 and 1940. A pivotal point in the film was the use of a graph showing that there was a period of cooling between 1940 and 1975 when the post-war economic boom was under way. This showed, according to the film, that global warming had little to do with industrial emissions of carbon dioxide.

The program makers labeled the source of the world temperature data as "NASA" but it turned out that the graph was drawn from a 1998 diagram published in an obscure journal called Medical Sentinel. The authors of the paper are well-known climate skeptics who were funded by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine and the George C Marshall Institute, a right-wing Washington think-tank.

Recently Al Gore, (and by implication all that agree with him) has been again attacked by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (a think-tank that had close links with the Bush administration) in the US with misinformation, ‘Greenwash’ and adverts in that fly in the face of the facts about the problems of Global Warming. With more than a $3 million annual budget, CEI is supported by both conservative foundations and corporate funding. Known corporate funders in addition to ExxonMobil include the American Petroleum Institute, Cigna Corporation, Dow Chemical, EBCO Corp, General Motors, and IBM.

Company accounts have shown that ExxonMobil handed over hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years to such lobby groups. In 2008 recipients included the National Centre for Policy Analysis (NCPA) in Dallas, Texas, which received $75,000, and the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC, which received $50,000.

According to Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, at the London School of Economics, both the NCPA and the Heritage Foundation have published "misleading and inaccurate information about climate change." Examples given by Ward include a Heritage Foundation report that said: "Growing scientific evidence casts doubt on whether global warming constitutes a threat, including the fact that 2008 is about to go into the books as a cooler year than 2007". Scientists, including those at the UK Met Office disagree with this. Ward also cited that an NCPA comment that "while the causes and consequences of the earth's current warming trend is still unknown, the cost of actions to substantially reduce CO2 emissions would be quite high and result in economic decline, accelerated environmental destruction, and do little or nothing to prevent global warming regardless of its cause" was misleading and inaccurate.

For over 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. While it did its own scientists were advising that the evidence was exactly the opposite. William O’Keefe, at one time a leader of the Global Climate Coalition was a senior official of the American Petroleum Institute, the lobby for oil companies.

Scientists and economists were offered $10,000 each by the AEI to undermine a major climate change report. Letters sent by them offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Travel expenses and additional payments were also offered.

The UN report was written by international experts and is widely regarded as the most comprehensive review yet of climate change science. It will underpin international negotiations on new emissions targets to succeed the Kyoto agreement, the first phase of which expires in 2012.

A passage from the UN Development Program's 2007 Human Development Report stated that "Climate change is the defining human development challenge of the 21st Century. Failure to respond to that challenge will stall and then reverse international efforts to reduce poverty. The poorest countries and most vulnerable citizens will suffer the earliest and most damaging setbacks, even though they have contributed least to the problem."

CEI adverts state that a robust climate bill would cause "death on a massive scale" and "absolute disaster" in developing countries...

The words of Psalm 5:9 come to mind “Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with destruction. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongue they speak deceit.

1 comment:

Margaret's Ramblings said...

It is beyond my understanding that people are so ready to just accept this type of information at face value. When will they wake up? The future is very scary if these large organizations keep denying the science.