Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Lesson In Climate Skepticism: Courtesy of Marc Morano

What is it like to run a misinformation campaign based on inflammatory rhetoric and nonsensical political spin? If you pick up a copy of Esquire this week, you can find out. The magazine published a profile of prominent climate denier Marc Morano, a former employee of Rush Limbaugh and James Inhofe, who today devotes himself to a one-man climate denial show at ClimateDepot.com.

Esquire writer John H. Richardon describes the tactics of Morano and his ilk as "a style closer to puckish agitprop than journalism, which makes accuracy much less important than laughs." Tactics are designed to grab headlines, and keep reality at arm's length. For example: protesting at Copenhagen with signs that say "CO2 is Good" and hanging a banner on a Greenpeace vessel reading "Ship of Lies." Richardson explains:
If they can use the echo chamber to reach enough people, they can confuse them enough to change the narrative. It's asymmetrical warfare updated for the age of the Internet.
By dragging scientific debate down to the realm of sound bytes and visual stunts, climate skeptics have attempted to throw a wrench in the momentum of the climate movement.

Unfortunately for them, the momentum continues; climate legislation has already passed through the House of Representatives, and nations all over the globe continue to enhance their commitments to cutting greenhouse emissions.

In an unwittingly accurate analogy, Morano likened the "ClimateGate" scandal to the "Death Star." Yet we all know what happened at the end of Star Wars: the good guys prevailed, and the Death Star was blown to smitherines. Luckily for us, we have the force on our side.

Koch Industries Funds Far-Reaching Climate Denial Machine

The story sounds familiar: a huge US company dominated by oil and chemical interests is "plowing millions of dollars into campaigns to discredit climate science and clean energy policies." But if you thought ExxonMobil was bad, you haven't seen anything yet.

Koch Industries, the second-largest privately owned company in the United States, is one of the largest financial backers of the climate change denial industry. According to a new report by Greenpeace, the "biggest company you've never heard of" has funneled nearly $50 million since 1997 to groups like the Heritage Foundation and CATO Institute to fund misinformation campaigns about climate science.

The Koch brothers' deep pockets have far-reaching beneficiaries. Over five million dollars went to the group Americans for Prosperity, "which is campaigning to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases." Another foundation established by Charles Koch funded a (now debunked) report that polar bears were not threatened by climate change.

Koch's PAC has also donated to some of the biggest Congressional names working to block limits on global warming pollution: "Dirty Air Act" author Lisa Murkowski, fellow "Dirty Air Act" supporter Blanche Lincoln, and climate-denial poster-boy James Inhofe. According to the report:
"The combination of foundation-funded front-groups, big lobbying budgets, political action campaign donations and direct campaign contributions makes Koch Industries and the Koch brothers among the most formidable obstacles to advancing clean energy and climate policy in the US."
And it's no coincidence that 20 of the most vocal groups surrounding the "Climategate scandal" were Koch-funded. But don't take our word for it; read the full report here.