Crime of the century
Interview with James Hoggan, author of Climate Cover-Up:
When will the climate change deniers be held to account for the damage they are inflicting on the poor and the planet?
FACT: No remaining scientific body of national or international standing is known to reject the basic findings of human influence on recent climate change.
It’s hard to believe that such a statement bears repeating at this late hour but, then again, if you relied only on the media in Canada or the U.S. for information on climate change, you would no doubt be left to conclude that the science of global warming is still unresolved and that the debate among scientists rages on. It doesn’t. And there is a concerted campaign underway to make us believe otherwise.
As James Hoggan points out in his excellent new book ‘Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming’ and as Rolling Stone magazine illustrated in their brilliant exposé in the latest issue, a vocal consortium of industry groups, politicians, lobbyists and media commentators have done their utmost to confuse the public into believing that a scientific controversy exists when in fact there is none.
But as James Hoggan explains in my interview with him for CKUT (click the audio player above), the climate change “debate” is not about science or truth at all. It is a PR battle, pure and simple, as was the tobacco PR campaign in years gone by. All those fighting against taking action on climate change or refusing to believe that a problem even exists are almost entirely non-scientists and even fewer are climate scientists. But that seems to matter little because in the war for public opinion, it seems the climate change deniers seem to be muddying the waters just enough to have the desired effect on public opinion – this despite all the overwhelming scientific evidence they are up against.
How do they do it? Listen to the interview to find out.
For the record, here are some points to keep in mind next time you hear media commentators or industry reps talking about the “inconclusive” science or the climate change “debate” in the scientific community:
- In 2004, Naomi Oreskes, a professor at the University of California, published a paper in the journal Science on a study in which she found that, of the 928 peer-reviewed journal articles written between 1993-2003 on global climate change, not a single one took exception with the idea that humans were causing climate change.
- Since 2001, 32 national science academies have issued declarations confirming anthropogenic global warming
- The national science academies of the G8 nations, plus Brazil, China and India, three of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the developing world, signed a statement stressing that the scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action.
- In 2007, the European Academy of Sciences and Arts issued a formal declaration on climate change saying “Most of the climatic warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been caused by increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This development potentially has dramatic consequences for mankind’s future.
- In 2007, the Network of African Science Academies submitted a joint “statement on sustainability, energy efficiency, and climate change”: A consensus, based on current evidence, now exists within the global scientific community that human activities are the main source of climate change and that the burning of fossil fuels is largely responsible for driving this change.
The list goes on and it is too long to repeat here. Here are some other organizations that have issued statements in support of the consensus that climate change is happening and, through the emissions of greenhouse gases, humans are to blame:
- Royal Society of New Zealand
- Polish Academy of Sciences
- National Research Council (US)
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- American Chemical Society
- American Institute of Physics
- European Science Foundation
- American Geophysical Union
- Geological Society of America
- American Meteorological Society
- Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences
- Royal Meteorological Society
- World Health Organization
- Academy of Sciences Malaysia
- Academy of Science of South Africa
- American Astronomical Society
- American Physical Society
- American Quaternary Association
- Australian Academy of Science
- Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society
- Brazilian Academy of Sciences
- Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences
- Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society
- Caribbean Academy of Sciences
- Chinese Academy of Sciences
- European Academy of Sciences and Arts
- European Geosciences Union
- French Academy of Sciences
- German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina
- Geological Society of London-Stratigraphy Commission
- Indian National Science Academy
- Indonesian Academy of Sciences
- InterAcademy Council
- International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences
- International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics
- International Union for Quaternary Research
- Mexican Academy of Sciences
- Network of African Science Academies
- Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and the Arts
- Royal Irish Academy
- Royal Society of Canada
- Royal Society of New Zealand
- Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
- Russian Academy of Sciences
- Science Council of Japan
It bears repeating: No remaining scientific body of national or international standing is known to reject the basic findings of human influence on recent climate change.
Number of scientific bodies that dispute human-caused global climate change: Zero.
In 1999, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists issued a formal policy statement in which they disputed human-caused climate change. That position was retracted in 2007.
In the wake of the so-called ‘Climategate’ hacked email controversy (see post below) in which several climate scientists have been eviscerated for some admittedly dubious email exchanges, why are the deniers not being held to similar account for waging their spurious and unrelenting PR campaign of dishonesty and misinformation that has deliberately, and successfully, misled the public on an issue so critical to the future of humanity?