The new Greenpeace report Dealing in Doubt: The Climate Denial Machine vs. Climate Science, updates an earlier report on the global warming denial machine and its attacks on climate science and scientists during the past two decades. The report focuses specifically on denialist campaigns against the IPCC, including current efforts by the Heartland Institute; the funding of those campaigns, focusing on the role of the Koch brothers and the secretive front organizations Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund; and the wide range of tactics and tricks used by a small number of denialists to undermine science and feed right-wing politicians who block policy to deal with global climate disruption.
We’ve just finished reading Dealing in Doubt: The Climate Denial Machine vs. Climate Science (press release and link to the report), Greenpeace’s updated guide to the global warming denial machine. It’s a concise (66 pages) report that nevertheless covers a lot of ground — loaded with information and references, yet very readable.
The report is based on investigative work that makes many connections among funders, organizations, key individuals, and how they operate. Climate Science Watch readers will have some familiarity with a fair amount of this story: how the denial machine has developed during the past 20+ years, the rogue’s gallery cast of characters among contrarian scientists and right-wing policy operatives, their war on climate science and attacks on individual prominent scientists, and some of their key funding sources. For those who want an up-to-date history as an introduction, or review — or for finding citations and links to documentation and to further sources of information and analysis, you should download and consult the report.
From the Greenpeace press release:
This report describes organized attacks on climate science, scientists and scientific institutions like the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the IPCC), that have gone on for more than 20 years. It sets out some of the key moments in this campaign of climate denial started by the fossil fuel industry, and traces them to their sources.
The tobacco industry’s misinformation and PR campaign in the US against regulation reached a peak just as laws controlling tobacco were about to be introduced. Similarly, the campaign against climate change science – and scientists – has intensified as global policy on climate change has become more likely. This time though there is a difference. The corporate PR campaign has gone viral, spawning a denial movement that is distributed, decentralised and largely immune to reasoned response.
This report updates our March 2010 report, ahead of the forthcoming 2013 release of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment report. …
With this new edition of Dealing In Doubt we:
- Detail the ongoing attempts to attack the integrity of individual climate scientists and their work.
- Look beyond the strategic parallels between the tobacco industry’s campaign for “Sound Science” (where they labeled mainstream science as “junk”) to the current climate denial campaign, to new research that has come to light revealing the deeper connections: the funding, personnel and institutions between the two policy fights.
- Detail how some scientists are now fighting back and taking legal action.
- Showcase the Heartland Institute as an example of how tobacco-friendly free market think tanks use a wide range of tactics to wage a campaign against the climate science.
- Reveal the range of tricks used by the denier campaign, from “pal review” instead of peer review, to personal attacks on scientists through Freedom of Information requests, self-publishing books, and the general conspiratorial noise from the denial machine in the blogosphere.
The majority of the front groups or free market think tanks running campaigns against climate science continue to receive funding from big oil and energy interests.
Since our first report, the massive campaign against climate science – and action on climate, funded by oil barons the Koch Brothers has come to light. And while fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil, whose very products are causing global warming, continue to fund think tanks driving the campaigns, much of the foundation funding has now been driven underground, masked by a funding front-group called the Donors Trust – and its associate Donors Capital Fund, two “donor-advised” funds created to hide the real givers and thus shield them from negative exposure of their support for these campaigns.
Funding to the organizations that comprise the denial machine has risen during the Obama presidency, just as the urgency of climate solutions and promise of policy advances also rose.
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“Dealing in Doubt: Greenpeace Report Exposes Fossil Fuel Funded Climate Denial Machine” (Ben Jervey, DeSmogBlog)
“Report offers field guide to the climate change denial industry” (Graham Readfearn, Planet Oz blog, UK Guardian)
CSW archive: Global Warming Denial Machine
Some CSW posts related to events, organizations, and individuals discussed in the Greenpeace report:
“Like dentists practicing cardiology” – Climate scientists respond to Wall Street Journal disinformer op-ed. When you’re talking about planetary life suppport, it really matters what your credentials are.
Climate Science Watch testimony at House Oversight hearing (hearing on allegations of Bush administration political interference with federal climate scientists, January 30, 2007)
We coin the term”denial machine”:
“The Denial Machine” (the fifth estate, CBC-TV, Canada, originally aired November 15, 2006)
On November 15 the fifth estate, Canada’s leading investigative public affairs program, aired “The Denial Machine” (Webcast here). CBC says: “The documentary shows how fossil fuel corporations have kept the global warming debate alive long after most scientists believed that global warming was real and had potentially catastrophic consequences.” In an interview on the program, Climate Science Watch director Rick Piltz says: “This is a political operation to deny the seriousness of the problem in order to control the direction of policy. So I call it ‘the denial machine’ because I think it’s a more accurate description of what’s going on in this town right now.”
The 40-minute program also includes interviews with Frank Luntz, GOP pollster guru; James Connaughton, White House Council on Environmental Quality; Fred Singer, Science and Environmental Policy Project; Phil Clapp, National Environmental Trust; and Kert Davies, Greenpeace.