A newly unearthed missive from Lenny Bernstein, a climate expert with the oil firm for 30 years, shows concerns over high presence of carbon dioxide in enormous gas field in south-east Asia factored into decision not to tap it
ExxonMobil, the world’s biggest oil company, knew as early as 1981 of climate change – seven years before it became a public issue, according to a newly discovered email from one of the firm’s own scientists. Despite this the firm spent millions over the next 27 years to promote climate denial.
As a lifelong eco-activist, I always thought it was a critical mistake to name the crisis caused by excessive carbon emissions into the atmosphere "Global Warming." It made it sound like it was about the weather, when in reality it is about the end of life as we humans have always known it.
I was somewhat encouraged when the term "Climate Change" entered the conversation, because at least it is a more accurate scientific term for what is happening. But as Per Epsen Stoknes points out in his new book on the psychology of the climate crisis, What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming, this term has fared no better at conveying the urgency and seriousness of this mortal crisis to the average (distracted) American consumer.
In the months before the debut of the new documentary film "Merchants of Doubt," long-time climate denialist Fred Singer contacted more than two dozen bloggers, public relations specialists and scientists asking for help in derailing the documentary’s release.
"Can I sue for damages?” Singer asked in an email last October. "Can we get an injunction against the documentary?"
Singer is one of the "merchants of doubt" identified in the documentary, as are a number of other recipients of his email. The documentary, released nationwide last week, exposes the small network of hired pundits and scientists helping to sow doubt about climate science and delay legislative action on global warming in the United States.
The twisted morality of climate denial: How religion and American exceptionalism are undermining our future
James Inhofe, the senior Republican senator from Oklahoma and author of “The Great Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future,” has recently become chairman of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee. As a result, we can expect his committee, and perhaps the Senate as a whole, to proceed on the basis that human-induced climate change is nothing but a twisted fantasy concocted by misguided intellectuals.
As conspiracy theories go, this one is a dilly. The overwhelming majority of American earth and weather scientists, working in hundreds of private universities and in public universities funded and supervised by all 50 states (red as well as blue), have apparently decided to risk their personal credibility and endanger their careers to tell a complex, well-coordinated lie for no apparent reason. Thousands of other scientists in countries ranging from Australia to Ireland to China, in a remarkable display of cooperation with the U.S., have subjected themselves to similar risks, with a similar lack of possible rewards.
A new documentary shows how a "professional class of deceivers" has been paid by the fossil fuel industry to cast doubt on the science of climate change, in an effort akin to that from the tobacco industry, which for decades used deceitful tactics to deny the scientific evidence that cigarettes are harmful to human health. The film, Merchants of Doubt, explores how many of the same people that once lobbied on behalf of the tobacco industry are now employed in the climate denial game.
An infamous 1969 memo from a tobacco executive read: "Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the 'body of fact' that exists in the minds of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy." Using similar tactics, a very small set of people have had immense influence in sowing doubt on the scientific consensus of manmade climate change in recent years.
The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) has launched an inquiry into one of its researchers, solar physicist and global warming sceptic Willie Soon, following the release of documents that detail research funds he and the institution received from the energy industry and a conservative foundation.
Obtained by Greenpeace through a Freedom of Information Act request and released by an affiliated group, the documents include research contracts and describe specific commitments that Soon and the CfA, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, made to corporate funders. CfA officials say they are now investigating whether Soon properly reported the funding—he has received more than $1.5 million in private funding since 2001—to journals that have published his research.