climate change denial machine

The Climate Change Denial Machine

The Climate Change Denial Machine

Every major scientific society in the world has adopted a statement like that of the American Chemical Society which says that the Earth’s climate system is changing rapidly in response to growing atmospheric burdens of greenhouse gases, that observed climate trends are due to human activities, and that the threats are serious and action is urgently needed to mitigate the risks of climate change. A recent CNN poll found that 97% of scientists who are actively engaged in research in climate science agree that man’s activities are the main causes of global warming. In spite of the strong consensus among the scientists, and the warning by all of our major science societies that urgent action is needed, little effective action has been taken.

Why hasn’t action been taken? The main cause of climate change is most certainly the 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide man is put into the into the air each year by burning fossil fuels. If man is a major cause, then surely it should be possible for us to do something about it. But we haven’t. Perhaps it’s because the effects of climate change on the Earth have been subtle. Scientific research shows the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing, the temperature of the Earth is rising, the oceans are becoming more acidic, glaciers and polar ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising, the probability of severe weather events is increasing, food supplies are threatened, and weather-related natural disasters are becoming more frequent and more costly. But couldn’t those things be from natural causes? Couldn’t the scientists be wrong? Couldn’t it be too costly?

If your is answer “yes” to the above or similar questions, then you probably have been influenced by propaganda created by the Climate Change Denial Machine. The Climate Change Denial Machine was patterned after the Tobacco Propaganda Machine and uses many of the same organizations and tactics. Almost 50 years after the Surgeon General announced that smoking had serious health consequences leading to premature death, many people still smoke, showing the effectiveness of the propaganda. The Climate Change Denial Machine is much better funded, supports a far greater number of science Skeptics and politicians, and has the Internet to widely disseminate its propaganda. While smoking only affected the smoker and those around them, climate change, if left unaddressed, will have serious consequences for everyone and everything on the Earth.

The workings of the Climate Change Denial Machine have been explained in an article written by Riley Dunlap and Aaron McCright, and their excellent diagram is available at my website. It was published in Chapter 10 in the Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society, edited by John S. Dryzek, Richard B. Norgaard, David Schlosberg. It shows how money and misinformation flows from climate Skeptics and fossil fuel companies and is disseminated to the public.