Year 4, Month 12, Day 11: That Bears A Lipstick’s Traces

The Newcastle Herald (Australia) runs a column from a scientist who notes the leftover tobacco tactics in use:

Replication is the heart of scientific research. We checked our results by asking the actual scientists who authored the climate papers to rate their own research. As a result 1200 scientists rated their own papers. Among papers self-rated as stating a position on human-caused global warming, 97.2 per cent endorsed the consensus.

Just as many independent observations confirm human-caused global warming, there are many independent indicators of overwhelming agreement among climate scientists.

Consensus matters. When people correctly perceive that scientists agree about climate change, they’re more likely to support climate action. Consequently, those who oppose policy to mitigate climate change have sought to cast doubt on the consensus for over two decades.

This is done with the same techniques of the tobacco industry and right-wing ideologues who denied smoking causes cancer.

This is a recycled letter. November 29:

There’ll always be good-paying jobs for professional liars as long as corporations can profit hugely at ordinary citizens’ expense. It’s no surprise that the groups and individuals so busily misinforming the world about climate change were once on the payrolls of tobacco companies, and it’s no surprise that the same tactics are encountered in both situations.

There is something else happening, though, just below the surface. Addiction has its own psychology, whether it’s nicotine or fossil fuels.

Think of every smoker’s excuses: “I’ll just cut down a bit,” “I need to relax,” “my dad is 90 and he smokes like a chimney,” “I’ll quit when I’m not so busy.” How similar these phrases are to the rhetoric of big oil and coal corporations arguing against policies for addressing climate change in any but the most anodyne ways.

We’re hooked on fossil fuels, and our addiction’s destroying the health of our planet. The industry-funded arguments against the reality of this grave threat are eerily reminiscent of a chain-smoker’s rationalizations for ignoring the doctor’s warnings.

Warren Senders

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