If you are in an industry which would be harmed by action to reduce global warming the first thing you do is to try to cast doubt upon the science. There’s plenty of right wing writers and bloggers who are perfectly willing to write what is politically expedient for them. After all, conservatives never allow facts to get in the way of ideology, and worship of big business is a central part of their religion.
The problem with this strategy is that the scientific evidence has become so overwhelming that fewer and fewer people are listening to those who disagree. Al Gore, once considered boring, is now exciting when he warns about global warming. Even George Bush is showing signs of backing away from his earlier total denial. Time for a new strategy. If the scientists say global warming is a concern, buy your own scientists to say the opposite.The Guardian reports on an attempt of by the American Enterprise Institute to pay off scientists to dispute a major climate report:
Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world’s largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published today.
Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Travel expenses and additional payments were also offered.
The UN report was written by international experts and is widely regarded as the most comprehensive review yet of climate change science. It will underpin international negotiations on new emissions targets to succeed the Kyoto agreement, the first phase of which expires in 2012. World governments were given a draft last year and invited to comment.
The AEI has received more than $1.6m from ExxonMobil and more than 20 of its staff have worked as consultants to the Bush administration. Lee Raymond, a former head of ExxonMobil, is the vice-chairman of AEI’s board of trustees.
The letters, sent to scientists in Britain, the US and elsewhere, attack the UN’s panel as “resistant to reasonable criticism and dissent and prone to summary conclusions that are poorly supported by the analytical work” and ask for essays that “thoughtfully explore the limitations of climate model outputs”.
Climate scientists described the move yesterday as an attempt to cast doubt over the “overwhelming scientific evidence” on global warming. “It’s a desperate attempt by an organisation who wants to distort science for their own political aims,” said David Viner of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.
“The IPCC process is probably the most thorough and open review undertaken in any discipline. This undermines the confidence of the public in the scientific community and the ability of governments to take on sound scientific advice,” he said.