The Climate Deniers Are Using the Same Tactics as the Tobacco Industry

As it becomes increasingly obvious that global warming is entering doomsday scenario territory, the fossil fuel industry is ramping up the propaganda war. Last week, the so-called Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) released its fifth report “debunking” the findings of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. According to the NIPCC report, which was published by the conservative think tank the Heartland Institute, global warming is nothing to worry about. It’s just a natural process that’s happened hundreds of times before. If anything, the report concludes, global warming could be a good thing because extra CO2 in the atmosphere means more air for plants to breath. Seriously.

Not surprisingly, Fox So-Called News has picked up on the NIPCC report and is treating it like real science. But if you’re wondering why 97 percent of scientists disagree with the NIPCC on global warming, Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast says it’s because the entire climate science community has been “corrupted” by environmentalists. In reality, though, it’s the NIPCC and the Heartland institute that are corrupt and dishonest.

To quote Deepthroat, just follow the money.

The Heartland Institute, the think tank that published the NIPCC report, is largely funded by the fossil fuel industry and its allies. In fact, it’s received around $67 million dollars over the past thirty years from donors like Exxon Mobil, the Koch Brothers, and the Scaife Foundation. All stand to get very, very rich if we continue pumping greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.

The NIPCC report’s leading authors, meanwhile, are a virtual who’s who of the climate denial industry. Dr. Fred Singer, the group’s founder, has been pushing the lie that global warming isn’t a big deal for decades now, and fossil fuel companies have helped him out all along the way.

Make no mistake about it: the NIPCC report is one giant scam created by the fossil fuel industry to trick the public into thinking global warming is a lie. History, it seems, is repeating itself in the worst possible way. Back in the 1990s, the people behind the NIPCC climate change denial machine used to shill for another not-so-reputable industry: the tobacco industry.

As lawsuits and Congressional hearings turned public opinion turned against the tobacco industry, the Heartland Institute pushed out bunk study after bunk study claiming that there was no connection between secondhand smoke and cancer.

In 1998, for example, current Heartland President Joseph Bast argued in a piece for the think tank’s website that the “EPA had to twist and torture its data to find a public health risk from secondhand smoke.”

The Heartland Institute’s PR campaign was so crucial to the tobacco industry’s cause that Phillip Morris executive Tom Borelli actually listed supporting the Heartland Institute as one of his company’s most important strategies in a 1993 memo called the “Five Year Plan.” At the same time as Heartland towed the big tobacco party line, NIPCC founder Fred Singer was busy pumping out some blatant pro-tobacco of his own. In 1993, he joined up with the Philip Morris’ favorite PR firm APCO Associates to “debunk” studies showing the link between secondhand smoke and cancer.

All this, of course, was done to protect the interests of giant tobacco companies who denied in front of Congress that nicotine was addictive. There are few coincidences in history. The fossil fuel industry today appears to be following the exact same script used by the tobacco industry in the 1990s.

If you’re an optimist, you might point to tobacco settlement of the 1990s and say that eventually the truth will prevail and the bad guys will get outed. But remember, it took more than thirty years after Surgeon General Luther Terry warned the American people about the dangers of smoking to hold the tobacco industry accountable for the deaths it was causing and continues to cause.

With global warming, we may not have that kind of time. Some scientists think runaway climate change could kill off the human race in a matter of decades. It’s time for the American people and the media to wake up and call out the climate denial industry for what it is, a scam, before it’s too late. After all, the future of humanity is at stake.


stopgap's picture
stopgap 10 years 11 weeks ago

When most people these days become seriously ill, they turn to medical science to treat their illness. But, when the planet Earth becomes ill, the Republicans and their corporate buddies would have us turn to faith healers.

Common sense would tell you that you can only piss in the pool so man times before it becomes unfit to use.

ckrob's picture
ckrob 10 years 11 weeks ago

I think it is no accident that some can refuse to accept demonstrable evidence when it conflicts with their beliefs. It is the harmful side of faith as a orientation to life.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 11 weeks ago

History repeating itself is a very relative statement. Is it recent history, various ages of history, or maybe the entire history of mankind? Could we have done all this before? Could we have done it more than once? Could we possibly be stuck in a causality loop of creation and destruction? Could we have been doing this for countless millennia always failing to resolve this critical problem and being doomed to repeat it?

Strangely, our geological record shows correlations between various atmospheric states in the ecosphere; yet, fails to explain how they occurred. All we know is that these ecological changes have occurred repeatedly before. Could they have so decimated past civilizations that all traces of industrialization have been "washed away?"

Immanuel Velikovsky wrote about an ancient fossil that was found that remarkably resembled a spark plug; yet, carbon dating placed the fossil thousands of years before the industrial revolution. That little geological discovery says it all. I really don't need to deal with anymore speculation on either side of the issue.

This discovery lends credence to the myth of Atlantis. It is conceivable that before the time of Plato that mankind reached the same--if not greater--level of technology as today; and, ignored warning signs to the point of self destruction?

I think it is time we come to grips with the idea that this causality loop intelligent life is stuck in on this planet must be broken. The only way to do that is to open people's eyes to the big picture. If we don't resolve this problem, we are doomed to repeat it over, and over, and over, until the end of time; and, we will never achieve anything beyond what we have already become--the main destabilizing environmental factor on this planet; and, the enemy of all life within.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 11 weeks ago

Take part in Senator Bernie Sanders poll as to whether or not you want a Single Payer--Medicare for all--Health Care system in this country at this link:

Do You Want Medicare For All In The United States (Sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders)

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 10 years 11 weeks ago

DAnneMarc -- As mentioned several times before I want something better than medicare. A couple of possibities are described in Dylan Ratigan's book "Greedy Bastards". Medicare is the wet dream for the 1% represented by the AMA. For example, the front page of the LA Times today has an article about a doctor who has received more than $236,000,000 from medicare. He was an opthamologist.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 11 weeks ago

Chuck, if Medicare was the only healthcare provider, it would most likely be the "something better" that you want, because our whole system would be transformed into a non-profit. Get the profit contaminants out and - voila! - we've got health care without the bullshit. - Aliceinwonderland

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 11 weeks ago

Marc, I clicked on that link and participated in Bernie's poll. The results were pretty amazing. It appears more people are waking up and realizing that "socialized medicine" is a pretty good idea after all. At the rate of nearly 50,000 avoidable deaths in this country each year, casualties of our uniquely American pay-or-die system and all its barriers to care, it seems inevitable the ripple effect from that would keep expanding as more and more of us lose friends or family members to avoidable and treatable causes, sacrificed at the alter of Big Money. - AIW

Willie W's picture
Willie W 10 years 10 weeks ago

Interesting theory. Would make for a good book. Suppose our ancestors were advanced enough to migrate away from Earth when the end was near. Some of those UFO sightings would just be them checking up on us. Reminds me of the movie "Mission To Mars." We are them. They are us.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 10 years 10 weeks ago

AIW -- I agree with you. I am just warning we need to be vigilant. As a matter of fact I have noticed since Obama has been in office medicare seems to be much more cost conscious. I am basing this on a sample on one, me.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 10 weeks ago
Quote Aliceinwonderland:It appears more people are waking up and realizing that "socialized medicine" is a pretty good idea after all.

Aliceinwonderland ~ Yeah. I sure noticed that too. However, it was such a huge pro ponderousness of people I have to ask myself if they have woken up to this fact; or, if we have been blinded by the media to this fact all along. I think it is kinda nice that Bernie found a way to point this out to us all. Random samplings on facebook. That is how I got the link to the poll. Of course one must wonder exactly how "random" this poll actually is. The vast majority of the people polled already befriended Bernie on facebook--meaning, they were already woken up to some degree and paying attention. Nevertheless, its nice to see that Bernie is not only listening to them, but also asking the right questions. Very refreshing, indeed!

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 10 weeks ago

Willie W ~ Thanks! That theory popped into my head almost instantaneously when I read about that discovered fossil of the spark plug. What other explanation is possible? Aliens left it behind? What are interstellar aliens doing with an internal combustion engine? There is only one explanation and that is very eye opening.

They say that human behavior is natural; and, therefore, predictable using the scientific method. What if ancient prophecies like the book of Revelations are actual blueprints for that natural sequence of human behavior? What if ancient myths are actually historic fact? What if the real inconvenient truth is all around us and we chose to ignore it?

There is one thing that is not natural about human behavior. We have the ability to determine the outcome of our decisions. We have the ability to make free choices that change those outcomes. Perhaps, if this theory is true, we will make different decisions eventually that will end this causality loop and propel us beyond what human nature alone has trapped us into.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 10 weeks ago
Quote chuckle8:DAnneMarc -- As mentioned several times before I want something better than medicare.

chuckle8 ~ I hear you. However, "Medicare" is just a name for a service that has undergone many changes recently. It used to work just fine; and, it can be tweaked to work even better in the future. When most people say "Medicare for all," what they really mean is 100% coverage of all medical fees from cradle to grave paid for by the government. That is no copay, no out of pocket, no personal expenses of any kind other than taxes.

The main problem with our healthcare system in this country is runaway medical costs. Ridiculous medical costs for routine procedures. $3K for a colonoscopy is outrageous. You can easily be charged up to $5k for a 20 minute ambulance ride; yet, somehow, the paramedics in the fire truck will beat the ambulance to the scene, save the patients life, stabilize their condition, and keep them alive till the ambulance arrives. Their price = $00.00.

This little "phenomenon" proves what government can do if they run the show. Providers will have no choice but to negotiate with the government to get paid; and, the only way that can happen is if the government pays all the bills. When that happens we will see those outrageous costs come down to something that makes much better sense. Call it what you will, "Medicare for all" is the sensible next step toward the type of health care this country sorely needs.

Craig Bush's picture
Craig Bush 10 years 10 weeks ago

There is no medical care for mass starvation. There are no tanks, airplanes or ships that will defend from global warming. All the shiny metal, glittering gems and paper money will not buy us a solution. To save our future and humans from perish we must change our economics, social and political institutions.

Economically we must change from our fossil burning, petrol-chemical economy to the green economy. Ban the international manufacture of petrol-chemical autos. Switch to independent charged electric. Modernize water systems implementing new conservation water science technology. Declare access to water an inalienable human right. Make it a public common with resources managed on a regional basis. Enable small farms utilizing perma-culture techniques for more production.

Socially we must learn to work less, to consume less and to live more. We want a 4 day work week. 3 day alternative shift with a lving wage. Build energy and water efficient homes that single income families can buy and own. Our society was once a mighty giant for good. The solution to global warming must be our lead.

Politically we need a new economic "Bill of Rights". Term limits for supreme court justices. 3 - 6 year terms. The last requiring reconfirmation. End money is speech and chartered organizations becoming live entities with rights as you or I.

The New Democrats of Santa Cruz believe the next president must bring global warming to the very front of all issues. We call on all those who believe we must act now to join us in drafting an AL GORE-BERNIE SANDERS ticket in 2016. The two candidates who have spoken most eloquently on this issue. We need these fine people to lead us into this new century. They will defeat the BUSH-RUBIO ticket the republicans are planning. There is no one who voted for Al who would vote for Bush this time around. Al won that election and Americans are most willing to make all of that right. We need Bernie on this ticket. With a tight senate his vote could be the most important function of the executive. He is most qualified to take over as comander in chief if needed. His vision is ours.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 10 weeks ago

Craig Bush ~ Well said. I agree with everything except the Al Gore ticket. First, I would have to hear in detail where Gore stands on Free Trade. Remember, he was part of the bandwagon that road that disaster into town. Been there, did that, don't want no more.

It would surprise and shock me if the Republicans had the gall and short-sidedness to ever run another Bush family member heading a ticket. They doth thinketh we havith a short memory. I can't imagine any member of that family that would have a snowball's chance in hell of defeating anyone--including Bozo the clown and the local dog catcher. Indeed, if they could, I would simply say we fully deserve everything we get.

Quote Craig Bush:Politically we need a new economic "Bill of Rights". Term limits for supreme court justices. 3 - 6 year terms. The last requiring reconfirmation. End money is speech and chartered organizations becoming live entities with rights as you or I.

Well said! To that ends you might be interested in this petition that is being circulated right now by Senator Al Franken. I strongly suggest everyone signs it:

PETITION: "Stop McClutcheon! Support Campaign Finance Reform Now!"

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 10 weeks ago

Marc, I'm with you about Al Gore. While vice prez, he did nothing to counter Clinton's push for NAFTA, which is the real culprit behind the mass outsourcing of jobs in this country... not to mention the increased number of "illegal aliens" here thanks to NAFTA. I have way more trust in Elizabeth Warren than Mr. Gore. And by the way, I voted for Ralph Nader in the 2000 election; not Al Gore!

At the risk of sounding redundant, I repeat: without "move to amend" and campaign finance reform, we can forget about enacting any viable solutions for global warming. These must come first; without them, nothing else is possible. - Aliceinwonderland

P.S. By the way Marc, I signed Senator Franken's petition.

nora's picture
nora 10 years 10 weeks ago
..."Medicare" is just a name for a service that has undergone many changes recently. It used to work just fine; and, it can be tweaked to work even better in the future.

Yes, the slogan "Medicare for All" does not reflect an idea that has been thought through to a superior conclusion.

Medicare is way better than nothing. But Medicare is not comprehensive medical care.

The co-pays can still be prohibitive for those on a fixed income! The medical costs can still outdistance the Medicare participant's ability to meet co-pays resulting in a descent into pauperism. And this descent is rapid if you have any type of illness with high costs and so on.

Medical bankruptcy is an everyday tragedy in this country simply because our government continues to fail to provide the citizenry with UNIVERSAL COMPREHENSIVE BIRTH/CRADLE TO GRAVE healthcare coverage.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 10 weeks ago

Nora, I agree with your basic premise. But I think that universal, comprehensive, cradle-to-grave healthcare, without barriers to care like co-pays & deductibles, are what is meant by Medicare For All: everybody-in-nobody-out. I'm certain this is what Bernie Sanders is talking about. We need only eliminate the profit factor entirely to make Medicare the kind of efficient, affordable, streamlined healthcare delivery system we all need and deserve. Long as the status quo exists, Medicare will never be comprehensive or even adequate. Meanwhile my husband & I have determined that our best defense is to lay off junk food, eat lots of veggies, stay active and trim... and pray. (SIGH...) - Aliceinwonderland

bobcox's picture
bobcox 10 years 10 weeks ago

I am currently reading Tim Taylor's comments on the speech given by Hansen before the AEC (?) in 1938. He,Hansen, makes some remarks which reminds me of your comment on the effect of lowering the top bracket of Income Taxes below 50%. My understanding of what you have explained in your experience is that when the top bracket is over 50%, the incentive for earners in that bracket, having excess incomes over their Samuelson necessities, will invest the excess or savings, into greater productive capacity. When the top bracket is less than 50%, the incentive is for the top earner to take more time for his hobbies, vacations, trips to Europe, or other leisure activities which he wants to enjoy. There is a reason why productivity in the Ford production facilities increased after the change in the standard work week to 40 hours per week that bears this out. Even the ordinary wage earner desires time for his family, his hobbies and his leisure activities and he will work harder if such time off is available. The apparent economic breakeven point is about 40 hour work per week and less than 10 hours of commute time per week (per Jay Forecaster’s "Urban Dynamics" conclusions).

Hansen stats in his speech that Secular Stagnation is dependent upon a reduction in population which had occurred as a result of families not having enough income to support additional children. However, my reading of the history of Germany's development from the 1873 through 1900 that one of the most important factors in rapid industrial development and economic growth of the economy is in the freely available education of the youth to the maximum potential and desires of the student. During this period of Germany's history, the Iron Chancellor, instituted several social changes in order to unify Germany. One of these and the most important was the increase in the education of the population by having "free" education. Another factor was the raising of the social level of the working class to the "middle" class by putting some responsibility of industrial management on the working class. This was achieved by having large corporations having 50% of their directors from working class unions. this is also demonstrated by the "rotation " of management positions practiced in the Mondragon movement in northern Spain. Check with Richard D. Wolff on this important managerial practice. Growth of population as well as growth in financial accumulation are not necessarily constructive in improving the overall economy of a country. I like the idea of cultural gifts to art museums, concert orchestras and bands by wealthy individuals. Carnegie’s recognition that his children would not use his potential wealth beneficially wound up giving the libraries of the U.S. gifts which had to be matched by the local communities to build libraries, an important cultural addition to community life and development. The practice today of reducing education and such cultural community features because the apparent costs are too high and the desire to reduce property taxes has been an important political development in the last few decades,plus the reduction in status of the teaching and professorship position reduces the potential for economic growth.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 10 weeks ago

Excellent, Bob! Take a bow. - AIW

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 10 years 10 weeks ago

Bob -- I like the 2 hour workday that Thom talks about. It was described in the book "The Original Leisure Society". I wonder how Hansen tries to prove that a 40 hour work week is optimal? How about a 40 hour work week with a 2 month vacation and a year leave for the birth of a child (a year for both the father and the mother).

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