Monday, December 10, 2007

Battling for Opinion on Climate Change

The US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has issued a report describing a systematic effort by the White House to manipulate climate change science[1]. The report is available in PDF format from the House of Representatives here[2]. From the document:

This report presents the findings of the Committee’s investigation. The evidence before the Committee leads to one inescapable conclusion: the Bush Administration has engaged in a systematic effort to manipulate climate change science and mislead policymakers and the public about the dangers of global warming.

I am sure that most North Americans are very unaware of the lengths to which industry will go to influence the thinking of consumers. Last month I wrote a post titled "Meatitarianism" in which I talked about John Robbins' book Diet for a New America, which documents the ongoing battle between medical scientists and the meat and dairy industry. It's no wonder that there's confusion about what a healthy diet is. The book lists example after example of the deceptive tactics used by the meat and dairy industries to influence public opinion.

The battle for our opinions is just as extreme in the oil and energy sectors. The many people who today believe that the "science is still out" on climate change have fallen directly into the American Petroleum Institute's stated goal that "Victory will be achieved when ... average citizens ‘understand’ uncertainties in climate science ... [and] recognition of uncertainties becomes part of the ‘conventional wisdom.’"

I've been meaning for some time to write more on the climate change issue, and in particular about the sources of resistance and skepticism. This is just one more lead out of dozens of sources, but it was good enough to post.

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