As NewsBusters reported Sunday, Newsweek’s current issue featured a cover story blasting anthropogenic global warming skeptics as "deniers," and pointing fingers at companies like ExxonMobil as participating in a coordinated misinformation campaign akin to the tobacco industry misleading citizens about the dangers of cigarette smoking.
Shortly after this new issue hit the stands, Al Gore told a forum in Singapore, "the deniers offered a bounty of $10,000 for each article disputing the consensus that people could crank out and get published somewhere."
This raises an interesting question: Is this a coordinated attack designed to incite anger in citizens that polls show are not as upset about this issue as the left and their media minions?
As reported by the Associated Press Tuesday (emphasis added):
Research aimed at disputing the scientific consensus on global warming is part of a huge public misinformation campaign funded by some of the world’s largest carbon polluters, former Vice President Al Gore said Tuesday.
"There has been an organized campaign, financed to the tune of about $10 million a year from some of the largest carbon polluters, to create the impression that there is disagreement in the scientific community," Gore said at a forum in Singapore. "In actuality, there is very little disagreement."
Gore likened the campaign to the millions of dollars spent by U.S. tobacco companies years ago on creating the appearance of scientific debate on smoking’s harmful effects.
After the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, made up of the world’s top climate scientists, released a report in February that warned that the cause of global warming is "very likely" man-made, "the deniers offered a bounty of $10,000 for each article disputing the consensus that people could crank out and get published somewhere," Gore said.
"They’re trying to manipulate opinion and they are taking us for fools," he said.
He said Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, is one of the major fuel companies involved in attempting to mislead the public about global warming.
Notice the word "deniers?" This is what Newsweek published days earlier (emphasis added):
As [Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California)] left a meeting with the head of the international climate panel, however, a staffer had some news for her. A conservative think tank long funded by ExxonMobil, she told Boxer, had offered scientists $10,000 to write articles undercutting the new [IPCC] report and the computer-based climate models it is based on. "I realized," says Boxer, "there was a movement behind this that just wasn’t giving up."
Since the late 1980s, this well-coordinated, well-funded campaign by contrarian scientists, free-market think tanks and industry has created a paralyzing fog of doubt around climate change. Through advertisements, op-eds, lobbying and media attention, greenhouse doubters (they hate being called deniers) argued first that the world is not warming; measurements indicating otherwise are flawed, they said. Then they claimed that any warming is natural, not caused by human activities. Now they contend that the looming warming will be minuscule and harmless. "They patterned what they did after the tobacco industry," says former senator Tim Wirth, who spearheaded environmental issues as an under secretary of State in the Clinton administration. "Both figured, sow enough doubt, call the science uncertain and in dispute. That’s had a huge impact on both the public and Congress."
Coincidence, or a coordinated campaign by the left to stifle the growing number of scientists around the world who are speaking out and writing articles refuting anthropogenic global warming theories whilst inciting the public’s anger?
After all, neither Gore nor Newsweek chose to address the billions of dollars being spent by global warming alarmists to elicit international hysteria concerning this issue, and how such funds dwarf what is going to skeptical scientists and writers to add a modicum of balance to the discussion.
As Marc Morano, Communications Director for Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), pointed out in his rebuttal to Newsweek’s disgraceful piece, "proponents of man-made global warming have been funded to the tune of $50 BILLION in the last decade or so, while skeptics have received a paltry $19 MILLION by comparison."
Gore talks about $10 million possibly coming from ExxonMobil, which the oil giant has denied as "completely false." However, why do both Gore and Newsweek refuse to share information about funding going to the alarmists?
As Morano carefully detailed:
"The [climate] alarmists also enjoy a huge financial advantage over the skeptics with numerous foundations funding climate research, University research money and the United Nations endless promotion of the cause. Just how much money do the climate alarmists have at their disposal? There was a $3 billion donation to the global warming cause from Virgin Air’s Richard Branson alone. The well-heeled environmental lobbying groups have massive operating budgets compared to groups that express global warming skepticism. The Sierra Club Foundation 2004 budget was $91 million and the Natural Resources Defense Council had a $57 million budget for the same year. Compare that to the often media derided Competitive Enterprise Institute’s small $3.6 million annual budget. In addition, if a climate skeptic receives any money from industry, the media immediately labels them and attempts to discredit their work. The same media completely ignore the money flow from the environmental lobby to climate alarmists like James Hansen and Michael Oppenheimer. (ie. Hansen received $250,000 from the Heinz Foundation and Oppenheimer is a paid partisan of Environmental Defense Fund) The alarmists have all of these advantages, yet they still feel the need to resort to desperation tactics to silence the skeptics. (LINK) Could it be that the alarmists realize that the American public is increasingly rejecting their proposition that the family SUV is destroying the earth and rejecting their shrill calls for "action" to combat their computer model predictions of a ‘climate emergency?’"
Certainly, it seems quite suspicious that Gore and Newsweek ignored actual funding data going to both sides of this debate while employing very similar language just days apart to point fingers at "deniers," as well as using the tobacco industry analogy.
Has the June failure of the G-8 to impose CO2 emissions caps, and the July failure of Gore’s Live Earth concerts, scared alarmists about the future of their cause? Have polls consistently showing that Americans aren’t getting nearly as hysterical about this issue as Gore and his sycophants in the media want discouraged believers to the point that a new tactic is being tested?
With gas prices still hovering around the $3/gallon level, and oil company profits quite healthy, this looks like an easy target. As the weather really hasn’t cooperated this year – especially tropical storms which, for the second year in a row, haven’t materialized anywhere near the hysterical forecasts – maybe a new campaign is needed to stoke the public’s anger.
Think about it: the public’s real interest in this issue was largely precipitated by Hurricane Katrina followed quickly by the expedient release of Gore’s "An Inconvenient Truth." Gore continues to claim that we’ve got ten years to act before there’ll be irreversible damage to the planet. Of course, he’s been making this claim for years, but nobody cares about that.
The reality is that barring additional catastrophic climate events, the public’s interest in spending their own money on this issue is going to thoroughly disappear. As the recent Newsweek article pointed out about its own polling data:
39 percent of those asked say there is "a lot of disagreement among climate scientists" on the basic question of whether the planet is warming; 42 percent say there is a lot of disagreement that human activities are a major cause of global warming. Only 46 percent say the greenhouse effect is being felt today."
[L]ess than half [are] in favor of requiring high-mileage cars or energy-efficient appliances and buildings.
As such, the public doesn’t seem to be buying into the hysteria. And, if some major climate event doesn’t happen soon, these public opinion numbers are going to make matters much worse for the alarmists.
As a result, maybe they feel they’re running out of time, especially given the number of scientists who believe the current warming cycle peaked in 1998, and that we have begun a cooling trend. Might they be thinking a conspiracy similar to what tobacco companies did decades ago is just the tonic they need to rekindle the public’s ire?
After all, Americans love a conspiracy theory, right? And, many hate the oil companies. So, maybe the new tactic being tried by the alarmists – since the current one clearly isn’t working – is to create the appearance of a conspiracy concerning this issue all being funded by those nasty oil companies.
Now, to be sure, oil companies funding such activities is not a new concept. This industry is constantly in the crosshairs of environmental groups, and has been accused of funding anthropogenic global warming skeptics for years.
However, what seems new is the timing of this Newsweek piece coincident with Gore’s statements in Singapore, along with skeptics now being referred to as deniers.
As such, this bears watching.
—Noel Sheppard is an economist, business owner, and a contributing editor to NewsBusters.