Newsweek mimics tobacco industry tactics

By | August 6, 2007

WASHINGTON, DC, August 6, 2007


Newsweek’s latest cover story predicting ‘global warming’ catastrophe is no more scientific and no less incredible than its story 30 years ago predicting ‘global cooling’,” said Robert Ferguson, President of the influential Science and Public Policy Institute (


Newsweek appears a naively willing party to a sophisticated but unsuccessful campaign strikingly similar to the tobacco industry’s callous 40-year campaign challenging the established causative link between smoking and fatal diseases such as lung cancer. This strategy provides a positive “pro-science” public stance that masks the ignominious activity of institutional and professional persecution of numerous scientists whose honest work casts legitimate doubt upon the more alarmist projections of the supposed “consensus.”


Like the tobacco industry, this campaign (to which Newsweek has made itself party) has:


Ø       “Manufactured uncertainty and fear by stridently proclaiming certainty and consensus based on dubious and uncertain modeled results predicting disastrous consequences of a warmer climate. For a thorough understanding of the limits on the extent of the ‘consensus’ on climate change, please see:


Ø       “Adopted a strategy of information laundering by acting as a seemingly independent and respectable front publicly to further the message of climate Apocalypse and thereby to profit by confusing and terrifying the public.


Ø       “Ignored or misrepresented peer-reviewed scientific findings or cherry-picked facts in an attempt to persuade the media and the public that current climate change is exceptional. In the entire Newsweek piece, there is not a single reference to any peer-reviewed scientific paper.


Ø       “Attempted to shift the focus away from research based on observation with misleading charges that journalistic balance on climate change is the enemy of free of speech, and that those who disagree with the hysterical view of ‘global warming’ should be silenced.


Ø       “Stifled legitimate debate on whether ‘global warming’ will be beneficial and on whether any measures to mitigate it will have any significant impact on the climate.


Ø       “Placed bad politics and deliberate misinformation before good science and rational understanding.”


“Stories predicting Apocalypse Now undoubtedly sell, but they are scientifically unjustified. The official scientific consensus is that we may have caused at least 0.2 degrees Celsius of the historically-insignificant 0.4-degree warming over the past half-century.


“Only one of 539 scientific papers published since 1 January 2004 and containing the words ‘global climate change’ mentions ‘global warming’ as being potentially catastrophic, and even that single paper offers no scientific or other evidence for that proposition.

Lord Monckton, an international authority on climate-change policy, said: “One has only to cut away the alarmist rhetoric and the media distractions, one has only to focus on the central question in the climate-change debate, and at once the fact that there is no scientific consensus about climate change is laid bare. The central question is this: By how much will global temperature increase in response to any foreseeable increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide? On that question, the ‘climate sensitivity question’, there is no consensus whatsoever among the scientific community. There is no scientific basis for the current panic.”

Contact Robert Ferguson (  or  202 288 5699)