Numerous studies regarding climate change have given us irrefutable evidence that the earth is indeed heating up and we’re the cause. Most of us don’t want to hear this, and some people have gone out of their way to deny and obfuscate crucial information regarding climate change even though the planet is already suffering devastating effects from this. In one study, researchers from the National Academy of Sciences compiled a list of 1,372 climate scientists who were actively publishing articles on climate science, according to Weather Underground (WU).
The scientists were categorized as “convinced” or “unconvinced” by the evidence. The results were overwhelming: 97 percent of these climate scientists were convinced by the evidence of anthropogenic (human caused) climate change. The researchers also discovered that the scientists who were unconvinced had fewer publications in any science than those that were convinced. In all likelihood, those who were unconvinced had done a lot less research, the site reported.
In another study, which was conducted by the American Geophysical Union, researchers wanted to examine the broader issue of public opinion versus scientific opinion. So they worked out a huge list and contacted 10,200 experts from universities and government labs worldwide. In so doing, they asked two questions;
- When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?
- Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?
In response to the first question, about 90 percent of all of the scientists and 97 percent of the climate scientists said temperatures had risen, and in response to the second question, 82 percent of the scientists and 97 percent of the climate scientists agreed that human activity is contributing significantly.
However, the public’s perception of what scientists think about climate change is sadly different.
In a graphic originally published by WorldPublicOpinion.org, Weather Underground shows that 60 percent of Americans who watch Fox News almost daily agreed with the statement that most scientists believe that global warming is not occurring. Only 25 percent of those who watched CNN agreed, while 20 percent of those who watched MSNBC agreed. To add further fat to the global warming fire, of the 50 segments on climate science that Fox news aired in 2013, only 28 percent of these segments were entirely accurate, while 72 percent included misleading information about the science, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
Another problem is that journalists seek to make a story seem unbiased and “balanced” so that it appears to be a debate. However, as the information above notes, climate scientists stopped debating this issue some time ago, WU reports. By placing a climate scientist against a denier, it makes the article appear as if it’s discussing fact versus fiction, when–as mentioned above–the overwhelming majority of these scientists believe anthropogenically caused climate change is a fact.
Sometimes, in order to understand the true nature of many of these skeptics, you have to follow the money.
Companies like Exxon Mobil pay conservative “think tanks” to spread doubt about climate change, according to Greenpeace on the site Exxonsecrets.org. One example: The Competitve Enterprise Institute (CEI), in Washington, D.C., concerns itself with public policy and is at the very center of the global warming misinformation campaign. CEI forces direct action by utilizing the courts and the legislative process. It has mischaracterized the seriousness of global warming and argues that climate change would create a “milder, greener, more prosperous world” and has also begged President Clinton to not sign the Kyoto Protocol. Since 1998, CEI has received $2,005,000 from Exxon. The company has also received funding from General Motors, IBM, Dow Chemical, and the American Petroleum Institute.
Other companies receiving funds from Exxon:
- American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Also a vociferous opponent of the Kyoto Protocol, AEI is also against most other environmental regulations, Exxonsecrets reports. Exxon has lined AEI’s pocket book with $3,615,000. The company wrote President Bush in 2002 and asked him not to attend a U.N. summit on sustainable development. Bush complied and didn’t attend.
- The Annapolis Center for Science-Based Pubic Policy. The Center bills itself as a national non-profit organization that promotes responsible energy, environmental, health and safety issues by implementing sound science. In it’s own words the Annapolis Center claims it was “Founded by scientists, former policy-makers, and economists, The center is committed to ensuring that public policy decisions are based on scientific facts and reasoning.” Offset this sunny description with the fact that the center vehemently argues that the burning of fossil fuels has not caused climate change. Stranger still, the center encourages more logging because it’s better for forest health, Exxonsecrets reports. While the company is largely funded by the National Association of Manufacturers, Exxon has also contributed $1,048,500 since 1998.
- The Heritage Foundation. Also vehemently opposed to the Kyoto Protocol, the Heritage Foundation has encouraged conservatives to work together and “strangle the environmental movement,” Exxonsecrets reports. It’s received $780,000 from Exxon since 1998, and has employed numerous climate change skeptics, including astrophysicist Sallie Baliunas, and Robert C. Balling, who is a professor at the school of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning. He’s been noted for being an ardent climate change skeptic, and has gone on record as saying that “…elevated atmospheric CO2 will produce biological miracles all over the world.” Balling has received $125,000 from ExxonMobil and over $13 million from foundations headed by Tea Party stalwarts David and Charles Koch. In fact, from 1997-2011, the Charles G. Koch Foundation has given more than $24 million to climate denial front groups.
Indeed, more than $558 million has been funneled into nearly 100 organizations that perpetuate the climate denial circus, Scientific American reports. What’s even more distressing is that there’s been an uptick in funds to donor-directed foundations, which means that these funds can’t be traced.
Climate change is real. Unprecedented extreme weather events, retreating glaciers, heatwaves and rising sea levels all tell the story, and it’s all happening faster than expected, according to the David Suzuki Foundation.
The knowledge of thousands of climate scientists has been pitted against climate change skeptics by journalists seeking to balance both sides of the issue. However, the skeptics, in many cases, have had their palms greased by the oil industry, and that has unbalanced the public’s knowledge of climate change.