Tag Archives: climate skepticism

Exxon: The Evolution of a Denial Financier

In July 1979, Exxon scientists were worried. They delivered a sobering message to the company’s top executives: carbon dioxide from the world’s use of fossil fuels would warm the planet and could eventually endanger humanity.

For the next ten years, Exxon scientists led some of the best research on manmade climate change, leading to the conclusion that estimated a doubling of the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere would increase average global temperatures by 2 to 3 degrees Celsius (4 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit), and as much as 10 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit) at the poles. Rainfall might get heavier in some regions, and other places might turn to desert.

“Some countries would benefit but others would have their agricultural output reduced or destroyed,” concluded one Exxon scientist, in the written summary of a 1978 company presentation.

Some countries would have their agriculture destroyed. That’s what Exxon thought. Destroyed. No food for some countries.

Inside Climate News has chronicled Exxon’s evolution from scientific leadership in the 1970-1980’s, to funding the constellation of climate denial front groups in the 1990-2000’s. It’s a must read for people wondering how America became the last global holdout of skepticism about climate science.

Here’s a quick summary:

Read the entire article here.

J. Elwood

What Really Drives Climate Denial?

I don’t know that anybody knows the answer for certain. But I’m almost certain that it doesn’t have much to do with the data. (More on that below.) In this morning’s Times, an economist (admittedly, a liberal one), offered as good an answer as any I’ve heard yet:

“Think about global warming from the point of view of someone who grew up taking Ayn Rand seriously, believing that the untrammeled pursuit of self-interest is always good and that government is always the problem, never the solution. Along come some scientists declaring that unrestricted pursuit of self-interest will destroy the world, and that government intervention is the only answer. It doesn’t matter how market-friendly you make the proposed intervention; this is a direct challenge to the libertarian worldview.”

In short, it’s not about facts; it’s about defending a worldview.

Today, I got a comment on Beloved Planet that almost certainly bolsters this argument. The comment’s writer makes a remarkable claim: That there’s been no global warming for 17.8 years. This is offered as a fact. The “fact” is accompanied by an effort – easily debunked – to discredit other sources I had cited as “staunchly left wing” – a harbinger of the ideology that surely drives this person’s view of climate change.

But what about the “fact?” Is it possibly true? Does the proponent of the fact believe it himself, or is it just another effort to manufacture doubt? Well, you take a look, and make up your own mind. Here’s the global temperature data, as assembled by the four global meteorological organizations that do this sort of thing, including the USA’s NASA and NOAA:


Source: NASA

So what do you think? Can we argue – by selecting a runaway record hot year, 1998, as a starting point – that the global climate isn’t warming? Continue reading

Climate Change in American Politics and Religion


People all over the world are beginning to take manmade climate disruption very seriously. The Pew Research Center found last year that three out of four Brazilians and Koreans say that climate change is “a major threat” their countries. More than 70 percent of Japanese and Argentinians agree. So do two-thirds of Italians and Spaniards, plus a solid majority of Germans, French, Australians, Canadians and Mexicans. And that’s only the developed world. We’ve found that developing countries are generally much more highly alarmed at the unfolding consequences of climate change as they experience them.

Americans? Not so much. The same Pew study found that only 4 in 10 of us felt that climate change is a major threat. So what’s up with that? What do we know that the rest of the world doesn’t? Or vice versa?

Well, the Pew organization has completed another study that gives us new insights into American attitudes toward climate change. The bottom line is this: political affiliation makes all the difference about what you think about climate in America. I recognize that Beloved Planet readers come from across the political spectrum, but Pew has detailed some fundamental realities that should be interesting to people of all persuasions.

When it comes to climate change, Democrats and Independents generally believe just about the same things that people from the rest of the developed world believe. Republicans, on the other hand, are mostly unconcerned, and many of them don’t even think it’s happening at all. And within the GOP, Tea Party adherents overwhelmingly deny the existence or importance of climate change, while non-Tea Party Republicans are a bit closer to everyone else.

How could this be, you ask? Political philosophy can’t determine my views on scientific topics, can it? We’ll get to that, but first, let’s look at what Pew discovered.

For starters, only 25 percent of self-identified Republicans said they considered global climate change to be a major threat. The only countries in the world who expressed that little concern are Egypt and Pakistan. But on a much more basic scientific question – “is there solid evidence that the earth is warming?” – only 46% of Republicans said Yes. More importantly, of those 46%, just less than half (19%) said that it’s happening because of “natural patterns.” A person who takes this position will never favor policies to mitigate human climate pollution, because according to this narrative, we’re not the reason it’s happening.


Wide gap on climate science between GOP and Democrats

So practically speaking, those 19% (“it’s-happening-but-we’re-not-to-blame”) should be added to the other 46% of self-identified Republicans who say that there’s “no solid evidence” of climate change in the first place. That makes 65% of GOP voters who will oppose climate action, either because it’s not real, or because it’s the result of natural factors beyond our control.

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Rev. Richard Cizik: Climate change and the ‘burn it all downers’

Written by Rev. Richard Cizik. This article first appeared in the Washington Post On-Faith blog on May 21, 2013. Content reproduced by permission of the author.
Rev. Richard Cizik. OdysseyNetworks

Rev. Richard Cizik. OdysseyNetworks

Pastor Mark Driscoll, who ministers in Seattle, told a Catalyst gathering a few days ago that “I know who made the environment and he’s coming back and going to burn it all up. So yes, I drive an SUV.” No joke. That’s what he said. Actually, Driscoll says it was all just a joke.

A lot of people didn’t get the humor. Maybe it was because last week scientists declared that CO2 levels had reached 400 parts per million (ppm), and 350.org released their film, “Do the Math” on the crisis of climate change.

Reputable scientists in this impressive film say “civilization is in jeopardy.” [Disclaimer: I am in the film saying oil companies should be held liable.]

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