Why Opposition To Climate Change Still Exists ….


              The Energy Game

Like many people, I have a hard time understanding why opposition to climate change still exists and why the proponents of the notion that climate change is a farce are so adamant and tenacious about their position. After all, the evidence that climate change is happening and that it is being impacted by human existence is overwhelming.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is the “leading international body for the assessment of climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)in 1988 to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts.” It publishes assessment reports on climate change for national policy makers around the world. In the most recent 2014 edition it found that:

Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850. The period from 1983 to 2012 was likely the warmest 30-year period of the last 1400 years in the Northern Hemisphere…

Additionally, the group determined that the cause of this change was almost certainly due to human intervention:

Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have increased since the pre-industrial era, driven largely by economic and population growth, and are now higher than ever. This has led to atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide that are unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years… The evidence for human influence on the climate system has grown since the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). It isextremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together.

The summary of this report is based on the voluntary contributions of thousands of scientists who are not paid by the IPCC for their work. On the other hand, it seems that at at least one “respected” scientist who has published papers denying human involvement in climate change may have done so because he was paid by the petroleum industry. In fact, there is a lot of money that has been paid to support the denial of climate change. An article published by Greenpeace states that the infamous Koch brothers of Koch Industries have paid over $67 million dollars to climate denial groups.

I’ve written about the Koch Brothers before and how they like to invest in securing political influence. And they aren’t the only ones investing in the denial machine. The Guardian estimates that nearly $1 billion dollars a year is spent trying to stamp out climate change activists and manipulate government policy on industry as it relates to the climate. And what is being done with this money? Well, according toMediamatters.org, organizations like the Libertarian “think tank” Heartland Group are launching smear campaigns against global warming with media like this billboard (which was later removed due to pressure from both the public and internal staff).

But why spend so much on trying to suppress what would appear to be a dangerous truth? A recent study from Drexel University by Dr. Robert Brulle sheds some light on this. According to the article:

The climate change countermovement is a well-funded and organized effort to undermine public faith in climate science and block action by the U.S. government to regulate emissions. This countermovement involves a large number of organizations, including conservative think tanks, advocacy groups, trade associations and conservative foundations, with strong links to sympathetic media outlets and conservative politicians.

The funding is coming from sources that have an economic incentive to deny climate change. If the public were to overwhelmingly accept that human action such as the burning of fossil fuels was endangering our planet by (among other things) causing global warming which would lead to polar ice cap melting, rising ocean levels, increased ocean acidification, changes in agriculture and food production as well as leading to devastating economic upheavals, then there would be tremendous public pressure put on law and policy makers to seriously alter industries such as Big Oil and automakers. These changes could have a negative impact on the massive profits these industries have realized over the past several decades. There would also be a bigger push to divert current tax breaks away from the petroleum industry and towards clean energy such as wind, solar, ocean wave, geothermal and hydro-electric.

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