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The Plot to Keep Climate Change Denial Alive

The Plot to Keep Climate Change Denial Alive

The number of people who outright dismiss manmade climate change may be getting smaller, but by no means is the surviving group getting any less smaller. Recently, hundreds of climate change deniers gathered for the Ninth International Climate Change Conference in Las Vegas to figure out how to keep environmental regulations at bay.

Bloomberg Businessweek’s Abe Streep went to the Mandalay Bay to attend the ICCC. (Does it remind you of another acronym? Perhaps the IPCC, or Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a more legitimate scientific expert on global warming? Surely, it’s a coincidence.) His published account is simultaneously amusing and horrifying, but definitely worth checking out.

Amongst the highlights:

  • Willie Soon, an astrophysicist backed by the American Petroleum Institute, who believes that the sun has “natural warming cycles.”
  • Kilez More, an Austrian rapper, who led the crowd in a song about not accepting climate change.
  • Just about every speaker, according to Streep, made a neverending slew of Al Gore jokes, too.

Though an event like this one inevitably attracts some crackpots, that doesn’t negate the power that a conference holds. Look at a list of some of the event’s sponsors and you’ll see organizations like the Illinois Coal Association, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Ayn Rand Institute. Whether or not these groups legitimately believe in the science being presented, it’s an attitude they can get behind and benefit from keeping alive.

The remarkable thing is that attendees of this conference really aren’t that unified. Each of them has his or her own theory on what is occurring: some speakers outright denied global warming, while some were admittedly just skeptical. Some said the sun was heating the earth, some said the earth was actually cooling. Ultimately, however, even if they can’t seem to agree on what the mitigating factors are, they love to reach the same conclusion: the threat of manmade climate change has been blown out of proportion.

The Heartland Institute, a group that regularly represents private interests of ill repute, organizes the ICCC. In the 90s, Heartland worked for big tobacco, developing campaigns that attempted to discredit studies that showed that smoking was unhealthy. The intention was never to convince everyone that smoking is actually safe. Instead, the purpose was to confuse people just enough to establish some deniability so that tobacco could continue to make profits with fewer restrictions. It’s easier for people to turn a blind eye when they can pretend that a problem isn’t necessarily definitive.

That’s precisely what’s at play at the ICCC, as well. Groups like the Heartland Institute don’t have to present a winning case that climate change is patently false. They just have to plant enough doubt in enough people’s minds to disrupt meaningful attempts at reform and regulation. The longer they can perpetuate the myth and convince people that a debate is occurring, the longer fossil fuel corporations will be able to rake in profits… Not to mention, the sooner the world’s entire population will be in a lot of trouble.

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187 comments

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11:12PM PDT on Jul 25, 2014

Wow! Human extinction within 10 years! Do you anything to back up that prediction or is IG just another Armageddon prophesy. But, the climate modelers believe in catastrophe also.

If the only climate scientists are those doing modeling, no wonder you are confused. Best to check the scientists who actually do field work. They have a vastly different viewpoint than you. You need to stop spreading the lie about the 97%, lest Goebbels statements start applying.
Thinking that the debate is over is the sophomoric response. Scientists are constantly debating the cause(s) and effects. You do not have to believe it for it to be true. However, calling people who do not subscribe to your own viewpoints, "stupid," does not enhance either your argument or intellectual standing. You can deny all the science you like, but that will not change the results.

11:10AM PDT on Jul 24, 2014

-- cont. --

...next time you are on a plane, please do survey your fellow passengers to see if they agree with you.

Most people understand these precepts before leaving elementary school. What happened to you?

11:09AM PDT on Jul 24, 2014

Dan B., proudly thick as a brick and dumb as a lamppost.

I NEVER said there was "no difference between scientists and modelers". You, yet again, attempt to DEFLECT onto generalities in order to avoid acknowledging the truth. What I said, and what is OBVIOUSLY true, is that the climate modelers ARE the climate scientists. And 97% of climate scientists, the one who do the climate modeling, agree on AGW.

Your problem is that in your sophomorically contrived view of science you think, for example, that stellar astrophysicists should consult environmental chemists about the stellar models the astrophysicists create. Environmental chemists have close to NOTHING to say about stellar models; i.e. the opinions of environmental chemists, having no experience with astrophysical research, DO NOT COUNT when it comes to astrophysical models.

Likewise, the opinions of environmental chemists and petroleum engineers and particle physicists and social scientists "publishing on "sage", having no experience with climate research, hold very little-to-NO professional weight at all when it comes to judging climate models.

Once again, an analogy so simple that even the mentally infirm should grasp it: you would support the farmer in seat 7D and the housewife in seat 12A having some say into how the pilot handles his plane, for the mere reason that you do not like the pilot's politics or where the plane is scheduled to land. Good luck with that approach...next time you are on a plane

4:36AM PDT on Jul 24, 2014

STOP FEEDING THE TROLLS.

This is too important to have these fights with arrogantly dumb people. We're looking at near-term human EXTINCTION. That could be as early as a decade or so from now--once the oceans are too acidic to allow plankton to produce oxygen, most life will be toast. Movements start when a plurality of folks are so upset with the status quo, they organize to change things.
here's an overview of the facts:
http://brooklynculturejammers.com/2014/05/12/the-future-is-a-dark-place/

3:38AM PDT on Jul 24, 2014

Dan B. No you are not in any way discussing this issue in a mature way.. back to lying.. What a surprise.. You are the problem in discussing how to deal with Global warming/climate change. The debate is ended.

Now either quit with the denials or go away, Dan. Do one of the two things. You have offered nothing but the usual stupidity of your denying established science. It is tiresome and stupidity.

But for those that are more interested in how to reduce your carbon foot print.

http://www.carbonfund.org/reduce

It is really using common sense and being aware of what you are doing in your daily life.

3:27PM PDT on Jul 23, 2014

Cletus,
If you think there is no difference between scientists and modelers, then why so 97% of modelers think that CO2 is causing the warming, but only about half of scientists do?

You have given no reasons for anyone to believe you more than any other poster here, contrary to your claims. All you do is claim you are right and everyone else is wrong.

11:59AM PDT on Jul 23, 2014

As for Paul B. (Dan's intellectually unarmed brother-in-arms), I think his tail-between-the-legs silence speaks for itself.

11:56AM PDT on Jul 23, 2014

"Those with their eyes and ears closed prefer to call those with differing views liars and fools, rather than seek the truth." What finely attempted rhetoric....and what a bucketful of bullshit!

No Dan, I do not call you a liar and a fool just because you have a differing view than I do. Your "only because we have differing views" bullshit is yet another in a long line of your sophomoric, play-the-victim DEFLECTIONS, as you frantically try to avoid having to confront and respond to the solid points made by the rest of us in our responses to your nonsensical posts.

Let me be CRYSTAL clear:

-- I call you a LIAR because (for just one of many examples) attempting to falsely differentiate between the climate modelers and the climate scientists is a flat-out LIE!!

-- I call you a FOOL because (for just one of many examples) anyone who would promulgate such obvious and trite nonsense about climate modelers VS climate scientists, for who-knows-what motives, is a FOOL. The only question is, just whose fool are you: the [R] party's?, the fossil fuel industry's?, the club of infantile on-line-trolls'?

As I have warned the readers already, and for the specific reasons that I have already repeatedly and clearly cited in my posts, and that you have left un-addressed in yours.....you are chock-full of shit.

And to be equally CRYSTAL clear: everyone do note that Dan was kind enough to come on here and provide us a 'live' example exactly the type of baseless denialism th

8:39PM PDT on Jul 22, 2014

Dennis d.,
We are trying to discuss this in a rational snx mature way. Unfortunately, there are those who will not listen to reason (or science). They think they know what is causing the recent warming, and are unwilling to consider other views. This is true whether they believe the warming is 100% due to burning carbon fuels or 100% natural. Those with their eyes and ears closed prefer to call those with differing views liars and fools, rather than seek the truth. It is unfortunate that so many are so closed-minded that they refuse to expand their own knowledge. Why do so many from both extremes refuse to acknowledge the science involved? Some have claimed ulterior motives, others just ignorance. While there is s remote possibility that either could be right, the odds are against it, as are most scientists.

11:16AM PDT on Jul 22, 2014

I see Dan B. and the all the fools that deny established science are still trying to the same old song of spin, deny, lie, obfuscate, and project. Pathetic. it time to discuss how we all can to start to address this issue of global warming/climate change in a rational and mature way.

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