Friday, February 27, 2015

Here's What Happened to the Lobbyists Who Tried to Reshape the U.S. View of Climate Change

This Jan. 16, 2015, file photo shows pumpjacks operating at the Kern River Oil Field in Bakersfield, California. (Credit: Jae C. Hong/AP) Click to Enlarge.
In early 1998, some of the biggest fossil fuel companies in the world were hatching a plan to hijack the science of human-caused global warming.

Representatives from major fossil fuel corporations and industry groups had joined forces with operatives from major conservative think tanks and public relations experts to draft what they called their Global Climate Science Communications (GCSC) plan.

In a memo the plan boldly declared its goal would be to convince “a majority of the American public” that “significant uncertainties exist in climate science”.

Earlier this week it was revealed that major US coal utility Southern Company had paid scientist Dr Willie Soon, an aerospace engineer based at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, more than $400,000 in recent years for science research.

In total, Soon had received more than a million dollars from Southern Company, Exxon and the American Petroleum Institute in the last 14 years.  These three key funders of Soon’s work were also involved in formulating the GCSC plan.

Soon is a popular and oft-cited scientist within climate science denialist circles and claims the sun is the key driver of climate change with fossil fuels playing a minimal role.

But climate scientists have repeatedly dismissed his views, which are at odds with science academies around the world.  Soon has previously stated that his fossil fuel funding does not influence his scientific work.
The investigation published here, with support from DeSmogBlog and the Climate Investigations Center (CIC), finds many of those involved are still trying to convince politicians, legislators and the public that the science is faulty or can be largely ignored.
“Impacting the voice of elected officials was a key target under the ‘Victory will be achieved’ section of the memo.  Now in the US, about half our elected officials are climate deniers or are scared to even talk about the subject, so the impact of this 1998 campaign and subsequent misinformation campaigns around climate science is still clearly holding us back from climate policy solutions.”

Read more at Here's What Happened to the Lobbyists Who Tried to Reshape the U.S. View of Climate Change

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