Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Propaganda of Climate Change

Last week I came across an article about the Anti-Global Warming campaign on a website called Common Dreams. Originally it was posted on on February 25, 2010, by Bill McKibben.

The reason I write this today, is because the Kitchener Record just printed the article. So thumbs up to the Kitchener Record!

And the original story

I was especially interested in the article because it is about the propaganda aspect of the debate, not the scientific aspect. I'm actually pretty much burned out on the science of Climate Change. Even though I studied science at University, I am nowhere near qualified to calculated the rise in global temperature from fossil fuels. I imagine the formula is something like this: iT = (Bob + CB + NGB + MCF)*x*Fe - Pwcu * Lopd

iT = Increase in Temperature of Earth due to human related activity
Bob = Barrels of oil burned
CB = coal burned
NGB = natural gas burned
MCF = Methane from Cow Farts
x = constant to be figured out when it's too late by computer modeling
Fe = feedback effect
Pwcu = people who can't understand
Lopd = Loudness of pseudoscientific deniers.

I admit it, I do not have the scientific training to work through it and come up with the answer. So I have stopped taking the bait of arguments like "You are aware, aren't you, that Carbon Dioxide is only 4% of the total greenhouse gas effect?"

I don't mean to make a personal attack here, this applies to everyone. If anyone knows something about calculating the temperature of the Earth, they should take their case to a peer reviewed scientific process. Do not bring the argument to me. True, the scientific community may laugh at you and ignore you because you do not have a PhD. But I don't have too much sympathy for that. You get a PhD by working hard in university, and I happen to know many people do not work that hard and end up destroying their brain cells on beer and end up like George W. Bush.

Although I admit that I no longer have the brain cells required to calculate iT in the above formula, I can handle the math in the next formula, which is the Pottery Barn version of global warming. Simply stated, the premise is "We only have one planet to fool around with, and if we break it we all still have to live on it." The scientific formula goes something like this

NPE = 1 - Afabd

NPE = Number of planet Earths that can support life
1 = Number of planet Earths in the known universe
Afabg = Any fooling around by deniers that results in destruction of biosphere whether inadvertent or intentional

That formula I can still work out for myself.

Picture: This is a picture where NPE = 1. I was not able to locate a picture where NPE was zero.


  1. I suppose the 'bottom line' on all this is that the current producers of carbon-based energy are the ones with the money. Exxon/Mobil alone generates about $50 billion (i.e. $50,000,000,000.00) of profits on almost half a trillion of revenue each year.

    And, as the man said, 'Money talks.'

    No one really knows how much Big Oil 'invests' in climate change denial, but you can bet it's a heck of a lot. Crusader, George Monbiot, has revealed some of this money, but that's certainly not a comprehensive list.

    Big Oil executives (like all too many other corporate executives) are compensated primarily on the basis of this year's results. So it's obviously in their interests to keep pumping and burning carbon, lip service to alternate energy not withstanding.

    The 'corporation' has been convincingly demonstrated to be inherently a psychopatheic personality. It should come as no surprise that these psychopaths would want to persist in destroying this planet for the sake of this year's profits.

    What is surprising, and so very, very disappointing, is that their propaganda has been so effective. But, then, people tend to believe what they want to believe.

    And all too many people just do not want to believe that the 'good times' cannot go on forever.

  2. Whoops ... post scriptum ...

    I had intended to link this graphic in my comment, but the tears of frustration were blurring my vision and I screwed up my editing.

  3. There have been a number of excellent books published recently on the subject of 'junk science' on global warming (i.e. climate change denial).

    Charles Alexander published an excellent review of three of these books in the Huffington Post.

    Science historian Naomi Oreskes' Merchants of Doubt, a detailed scholarly work which places global warming denial in the context of a long campaign of 'junk science' funded by industry, was also reviewed in detail by Robin McKie in The Guardian.

    From a Canadian perspective, author James Hoggan, in his Climate Cover-up, points a finger at outfits such as Canada's Fraser Institute which keep pumping out junk science propaganda and demanding a voice in the debate.

    However, despite the transparent and cynical self-interest of the global warming deniers, their propaganda continues to have a significant effect, especially with our neighbours to the south. Only 58% of Americans (compared to 80% of Canadians) accept the evidence for global warming.