Tuesday, March 28, 2006

What's So Confusing About Melting Icebergs and Humongous Hurricanes?

All this Global Warming talk: is it happening, isn't it happening, it's all so confusing, what's on T.V.?

I've written several times about one of the favorite games of the chemical and tobacco industry: "manufacturing doubt," as George Washington University professor David Michaels described it in several articles (here and here, for example).

What's worked so well with tobacco and chemicals also seems to be working well for the oil industry with global warming "debate," according to an ABC News report. It's not like there isn't enough good information already out there.
The vast majority of scientists has determined global warming to be a real threat. So why has it taken so long to convince Americans?

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ross Gelbspan blames a 15-year misinformation campaign by the oil and coal industries.

"The point of this campaign was not necessarily to persuade the public that global warming isn't happening," Gelbspan said. "It was to persuade the public that there is this state of confusion."

A 1998 memo by the American Petroleum Institute said, "Victory will be achieved when … average citizens recognize uncertainties in climate science."
To redefine global warming as theory — not fact — the industry funded research by "friendly" scientists such as [climatologist, Pat]Michaels.
Michaels (no relation to the aforementioned good [David] Michaels) was quoted by ABC as saying
"The American people have just been bludgeoned with climate disaster stories for God knows how long....and they're just, they've got disaster fatigue."
ABC at least puts him (and those like him) in his place: "Michaels is one of a handful of skeptics still downplaying the danger. But they are a tiny minority." Maybe, but unfortunately, that tiny minority seems to control our government -- and perhaps the fate of the earth.

(Hat tip to Susie)