A recent Wall Street Journal piece "No Need to Panic About Global Warming" has generated a bit of a buzz on the right, along with the usual cast of global-warming-deniers. Sixteen scientists signed the declaration questioning the need for any real action to be taken on global warming, for a variety of reasons. While the list of signatories is impressive, none of them have published peer-reviewed papers or even have any specific credentials on climatology.
In fact, the WSJ refused to run an editorial signed by 55 Members Of The U.S. National Academy Of Sciences. 1. In fact, most notable among the signatories, besides their almost to-a-person lack of climate science expertise, and their heavy ties to the fossil fuel industry, was an over-representation by the geriatric, the retired, and the gone-emeritus.2
William Happer, a Princeton physicist, presides over one of America’s leading cheerleaders for the tobacco and oil industries, the George C. Marshall Institute. Roger Cohen and Edward David are both former employees of ExxonMobil. William Happer is the Chairman of the Board for the George C. Marshall Institute, which has received funding from Exxon. Happer has compared Mainstream climate science to the Holocaust. Rodney Nichols is also on the boards of the George Marshall Institute and the Manhattan Institute, which has been funded by Exxon and the Koch Foundations. Harrison Schmitt was the Chairman Emeritus of the Annapolis Center for Science-Based Public Policy, which was funded by oil refiners and electric utilities in the 1990s, according to a Wall Street Journal report (via Nexis). Richard Lindzen also served on the Economic Advisory Council of the Center, was funded by ExxonMobil through the 2000s.3 Harrison Schmitt, former astronaut has compared environmentalism to Communism, and written other op-ed pieces including an article that outlines America’s Path to National Socialism. A fellow of the American Heartland Institute, Schmitt had been nominated by New Mexico's Republican governor as Energy Secretary, but had to withdraw due his outrageous statements.
When research was showing a direct link between tobacco products, the tobacco lobby went on the offensive with ads like these. Sound familiar? It should, many of the lobbying firms that are responsible for climate change denial were formerly clients of the tobacco companies.
If that wasn't depressing enough, news coverage of global warming in media outlets has been steadily declining, no doubt due in large part to economic downturn that started in 2007. But in good news, Momentum Magazine has several interviews with experts on how we can effectively deal with preventing climate change, and for me, the most fascinating interview is with Solomon Prakash (the India country director of Ashoka, an international agency that facilitates social entrepreneurship).
Bonus round: former astronaut Harrison Schmitt is a right wing activist whose history as an Apollo astronaut makes him an ideal tool for the climate denier industry:
larger copy here.
And well worth reading, Dealing in Doubt. This report describes 20 years of organised attacks on climate science, scientists and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It sets out some of the key moments in this campaign of denial started by the fossil fuel industry, and traces them to their sources.
[1.] "Remarkable Editorial Bias on Climate Science at the Wall Street Journal" by Peter Gleick. [CEO Pacific Institute, MacArthur Fellow, National Academy of Sciences.]
[2.] Climate Denial Crock of the Week by Peter Sinclair.
[3.] "WSJ Publishes Op-Ed By 16 Scientists -- But Most Of Them Don't Actually Conduct Climate Research." Media Matters.