The Human Truth Foundation

Climate Change Deniers

By Vexen Crabtree 2022

#climate_change #petrol_lobby

Some of the most vociferous deniers of anthropogenic climate change come from (1) petroleum and energy companies, who have funded huge volumes of misleading 'research' and slick misinformation campaigns,1 (2) a few maverick scientists who have been swayed by poor research, or are being funded by petroleum companies, and who are often campaigning on fields outside of their area of expertise,2 (3) conservative and nationalist political parties and governments who receive funding from polluting industries, (4) Christian conservatives, based on biblical statements that God won't cause any more global floods and, rather, that the Second Coming of Jesus will be what ends human society3 and (5) a large number of misinformed citizens who obtain misinformation from the other sources listed here and from conspiracy websites and anti-establishment sources who routinely oppose almost any government-approved projects. Together, these groups are injuring humanity's future quality of life, causing needless suffering and strife, and reducing the chances of us living well with nature.


1. International Statistics on Climate Change Denial

#haiti

AreaRational Beliefs on the Environment (2011)
Higher is better
%4
Africa...38.3%
Asia...37.9%
Australasia28.0%
Europe...33.6%
North America54.2%
South America63.8%
The Middle East35.1%
World39.9%

Rational beliefs on the environment are counted as the percent of national populations that believe that humans are causing climate change multiplied with the belief that it is a serious threat. The regions whose populations are best educated on climate change are South America (63.8%), North America (54.2%) and Africa (38.3%)4, and the worst are Australasia (28.0%), Europe (33.6%) and The Middle East (35.6%)4. The populations that are most concerned about the environment and believe that we humans are damaging it can be found in Argentina (78.3%), Greece (77.6%) and Brazil (77.1%)4; and those who are least likely to believe the science are in Turkmenistan (8.6%), Albania (9.4%) and Haiti (10.0%)4. The presence of Haiti in the list is surprising, as most other small island nations are four times more likely to believe in the seriousness of anthropogenic climate change, as they experience the oceans directly.

Rational Beliefs on the Environment (2011)4
Pos.Higher is better
%4
1Argentina78.3%
2Greece77.6%
3Brazil77.1%
4Trinidad & Tobago74.5%
5Costa Rica74.2%
6Cyprus71.0%
7Guatemala70.9%
8Philippines70.8%
9S. Korea70.7%
10Colombia70.3%
11Bolivia69.3%
12Paraguay68.9%
13Mexico67.0%
14Nicaragua67.0%
15El Salvador66.8%
16Indonesia66.5%
17Japan64.7%
18Panama64.6%
19Peru63.9%
20Chile63.8%
q=145.
Rational Beliefs on the Environment (2011)4
Pos.Lower is worse
%4
145Turkmenistan8.6%
144Albania9.4%
143Haiti10.0%
142Tajikistan11.1%
141Uzbekistan11.3%
140Iceland13.1%
139Libya14.6%
138Denmark14.9%
137China15.1%
136Estonia15.9%
135Czechia16.0%
134Tunisia19.3%
133Latvia19.5%
132Zimbabwe19.6%
131Kuwait19.6%
130USA19.7%
129Botswana20.4%
128Norway20.5%
127UAE20.8%
126Malawi22.0%
q=145.

2. The Petroleum Industry: Abuse of News Outlets With Fake Science and Fake Lobby Groups

#alcohol #democracy #environmentalism #health #mass_media #obesity #petrol_lobby #smoking

Several industries have been caught out producing fake and heavily biased science reports, orchestrating so-called "grass-roots" movements that cast doubt on science, producing endless reams of misleading public-relations material and manipulating news outlets with fake think-tanks. They have well-practised and efficient methods for influencing the news and swaying public opinion, and the money and effort that goes into these channels of deception are great. They produce "manufactured doubt" using scientific-sounding organisations as fronts, to try and discredit the mountains of evidence that stand against them. They are expert at getting their content on to broadcast media. In every success they maintain their own profits, but cause long-term harm.

The worst culprits in spreading mass-lies in this way are: (1) the tobacco and smoke industry5,6,7, (2) the fast-food and junk food industries8, (3) those who sell most nutritional supplements9 and (4) the petrol and oil industries10,11,5.The worst outlets for promulgating rubbish without checking sources are the sensationalist, downmarket and popularist news bodies.

For more, see:

Of those, the work of the petroleum industry has focused specifically on denying climate change science. Oil and petrol lobbies have spent fortunes on PR tricks. They produce scientific reports engineered by their own scientists5, which serve to boost their own industries by deceiving the public. The Global Climate Coalition was founded in the around 1990, and funded "scientists and writers who would provide disinformation regarding climate change to anybody who would listen. For more than ten years they supported 'research' that would cast doubt on scientific reports" about the dangers of burning fossil fuels10. Basically, their reports were distorted lies, pretending to be science. Who funded this maverick outfit, which received a lot of media coverage each time it produced a report? It was Exxon, Ford, Texaco, General Motors (GM), British Petroleum (BP), and DaimlerChrysler10 yet there was no indication given in the mass media that these "scientific" reports were funded by the oil lobby - it was all presented as unbiased research, and done long-term damage to the popular understanding of climate change.

Reminiscent of the way in which the tobacco industry previously poured huge sums into 'independent' research showing that the effects of smoking on health had been greatly exaggerated, so now the oil and energy industries are supporting science to challenge research about global warming and its effects.

"Democracy: A Beginner's Guide" by Beetham, David (2005)5

Book CoverWithin months of the UN producing its first report endorsing the idea of man-made climate change, in 1989, Exxon and other big corporations started setting up pseudo-groups. The first and biggest was the Global Climate Coalition which was soon lobbying in the corridors of power [...]. As a single example of its activities, the coalition made a classic appeal to the subconscious feelings of its American audience before the Kyoto conference in December 1997, when it spent $13 million on TV advertising, aimed at reining in the Clinton administration. It pitched the whole issue as a matter of freedom and patriotism. 'America has signed many treaties... but never a treaty of surrender,' was the key line in one advertisement, over a photograph of the Japanese surrender at the end of the Second World War.

When Kyoto nevertheless produced an agreement to cut emissions, Exxon, in early 1998, helped to set up a new front group, the Global Climate Science Team. [...] Between 1998 and 2005, ExxonMobil alone spent $15.8 million on forty-three different front groups, according to research published in January 2007 by the Union of Concerned Scientists, who described this as 'the most sophisticated and successful disinformation campaign since Big Tobacco misled the public. [...]

A columnist at the Daily Mail [...] Melanie Phillips [wrote] a series of outspoken columns denouncing the whole concept of man-made climate change. 'Global warming is a scam,' she wrote in February 2002. 'The latest evidence is provided in a report published today by the European Science and Environment Forum, in which a group of the most eminent scientists from Britain and America shred the theory.' However, the forum whose work she was quoting was, in truth, yet another pseudo-group, created with the help of two PR agencies (APCO Worldwide and Burson-Marsteller) with the specific intent of campaigning against restrictions on corporate activity; and the report to which Phillips referred in such glowing terms was recycled work which had been funded by Exxon.

"Flat Earth News" by Nick Davies (2008)11

Opponents [of legislation to protect the environment] have embarked on a major effort to Washington to... modify, or defeat it. Nearly every environmental organization, the majority of scientific organizations, and most Democrats support the legislation; most spokespersons for the energy industry, some scientists, and the more conservative Republicans tend either to oppose it or at least to seek major modifications. [...] Representing the opposition according to Environment Maryland, a citizen-based environmental advocacy organization, are approximately 2,000 lobyists who have been engaged by American energy industries to identify flaws.

Skeptical Inquirer (2009)12

3. Maverick Scientists

Some maverick scientists, such as Frederick Seitz, Fred Singer, and a few others, have conducted "a thirty-year campaign against a wide range of environmental issues", and have been given a hugely disproportionate quantity of air-time on news outlets2. Together they denied - along with a few institutions that use them as their sources, and their fans - that man-made acid rain was the result of our smokestack emissions, that smoking causes cancer, and that the hole in the ozone layer was caused by CFCs, and that human activity is causing climate change. The fact that they campaign on one hot-topic after another says one thing; that they're consistently wrong say another, but the dreariest worry of all, is that they continue to have influence amongst fans and followers that are too happy to be led astray.

4. Political Parties and Governments

#australia #Brexit_Party #British_National_Party #canada #china #climate_change #environmentalism #germany #new_zealand #norway #Reform_UK #russia #saudi_arabia #spain #sweden #UK #UKIP #USA

The first three reports of the IPCC attracted a wave of political climate-deniers; "a handful of countries were the source of almost all of the objections: Saudi Arabia, the United States, China, and Russia - [who are also] the biggest producers and consumers of hydrocarbons [and] Schneider also reports that many of the members of the official U.S. delegation admitted privately that they agreed with the majority of scientists there but were under different orders from their bosses in Washington"13. The power and wealth of polluting industries is immense, and they are often key funders of political parties, in particular, the traditional Conservative parties of the west, most notably, the USA's Republican Party. When democracy is corrupted by political parties that are financially pupeteered by rich industry no matter the cost to wider humanity, frequently the only thing that can change the formula is massive and consistent public outcry - the long-term kind that effects the ballot box.

There are hardly any mainstream parties that deny the importance of tackling climate change. For example, Sondre Båtstrand at the University of Bergen in Norway studied the policies of conservative parties from Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand,Norway, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the USA14. The only conservative party that denies climate change in their official manifestos or policies is the USA's Republican party15; their Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush wanted to simply remove USA climate policies15 although luckily his campaign didn't endure, it was truly concerning that the Party supported someone with such an anti-climate stance. The USA's most powerful party sits in such an extreme and worrying position because of the political influence of its fossil fuel industry15.

Canada:: Although Canada performs well with regards to the environment, not everyone is convinced. In 2015 it was noted that the Conservative Party of Canada only pays "lip service" to preventing climate change, but at least, it does this in the face of its large tar sands oil industry15. In 2021, things got worse, not better, when party members voted not to recognize the climate crisis as real16.

Australia: Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott was, almost, a denialist, witnessed by his government's Direct Action Plan, described accurately as simply "impotent"15 (his 'Liberal Party of Australia' is a misleadingly-named conservative party). The wider population are often just as bad; 31.8% of Australians have rational worries about the environment, but this is fewer than the global average of 39.9%4. News outlets are to blame. Although a few broadcasters have readers who are well educated on the climate, the most popular news producers tend to push their consumers towards climate change denial: Whilst 94% of Huffington Post readers say climate change is somewhat or very serious, "nearly 30% of skynews.com.au readers don't believe climate change is a serious issue (compared to 35% of those who watch Sky News TV), and we see News Corp websites dominate the news sites whose readers most deny climate change"17.

UK: Taking into account the long-term costs of climate change, it is the Green Party in the UK that are pushing for the most sensible policies on combatting climate change. Equally unsurprisingly, closest to them are the centrist Liberal Democrats. Unfortunately, these two parties do not enjoy a great many voters. Although the Labour Party do have some good policies, it's the Conservative party, which has been in power more than any other party in recent decades, that sets the rules. They are held back by leadership that lacks an ethical framework, and, a large number of climate skeptics. Many of its politicians are influenced directly by fossil fuel contributions to the party and some of these congrgate in the backwards "Global Warming Policy Foundation", members including climate idiots such as Nigel Lawson and Steve Baker18.

Even worse than the Conservatives are the UK's true denialists, who can be found in fringe parties such as UKIP19, the racist British National Party (who describe the global evidence for climate change as a 'left wing conspiracy')19 and Reform UK (a rebranding of the Brexit Party). Thankfully these parties have little influence.

USA: In the 1970s the USA was a world leader on serious long-term environmental issues, and its scientists rang many of the first alarm bells regarding side-effects of industrial chemicals. The USA joined many groups in protecting endangered species, oceans and fisheries. Much of this continued into the 1980s. But, this didn't last. The USA drew worldwide criticism for failing to adopt the greatest international agreement for the reduction of some greenhouse gases, The Kyoto Protocol, which has been accepted by nearly every other country. This is despite the fact that the USA is by a very wide margin the world's biggest polluter over time, and very disproportionately so for its population. Starting with President Bush, it has been Republican Party policy not to combat climate change and to deny the scale of the problem.

5. Religion, the Environment and Climate Change

#buddhism #climate_change #environmentalism #religion

Religion is a contributing factor in the social response to climate change20 and the contribution of religious organisations and leaders has a potential to be helpful, but historically has also been problematic21. Over the last century the secular world has realized that our behaviour so far has been far too destructive, selfish and irresponsible, and has been engaged in an attempt to educate and encourage religious leaders to teach not necessarily the science, but, the need for us to be responsible towards the Earth, even if it's not strictly part of some major religions' doctrines. Conservative Christianity has, in particular, been particularly damaging towards our long-term future on this planet. Ronald Reagan's Secretary of the Interior declared confidently that "we don't have to protect the environment, the Second Coming is at hand"22 and in 2010 the Republican politician John Shimkus argued that we can't be in danger from sea levels rising because God said in Genesis 9:11 that It wouldn't flood the Earth again (also see ). Mary Evelyn Tucker, one of the most respected authors in the studies of religious responses to the environment, writes that religious world views need to be "re-balanced" to help bring Human-earth relations into a more sensible state23. Although religions like Buddhism are strongly environmentalist in nature, there is still a lot of work to be done to bring religious worldviews on the environment into a place where they are helping, and not hindering, our balancing act with nature.