Home > Global warming, Science and politics, The Noise Machine > Climate: money doesn’t talk, it swears

Climate: money doesn’t talk, it swears

On the same day the Republican-controlled House Energy and Commerce Committee held “hearings” to justify blocking the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions, the American Geophysical Union released a report that the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are melting even faster than expected. According to the AGU study, sea level rise during this century is likely to reach…or exceed…the top end of the most recent forecasts.

Now the Republicans weren’t about to let actual science get in the way of what Time eco-blogger Bryan Walsh rightly describes as “political theater.” While Walsh acknowledges that the “skeptic” scientists chosen by the GOP to deny the reality of global warming rely on fact-twisting, he no longer believes scientific facts and consensus can persuade disbelievers that they are wrong. He approvingly quotes a Univ. of Michigan business professor’s paper that suggests “what may be needed instead are ways of framing the climate problem that essentially sidestep the science question….”

He and his sources are probably right that those who deny the scientific findings on warming want to debate the “facts,” while those who accept the findings want to debate the best course of action: they’re not talking about the same things. But calling for some sort of “third way” to open channels of communication fails to recognize how polluted those channels already are.

Bill Sez: Remember how long it took to build a social and political consensus that smoking is bad for your health? That delay was largely due to a deep-pocketed Tobacco Noise Machine that (a) provided funds for “scientists” who trotted out “evidence” questioning the science, and at the same time (b) donated to the campaigns of tobacco-state politicians who opposed public-health efforts to get people to quit smoking or not start. And they didn’t even have Fox “News” to stir the pot…in a “fair and balanced” way.

Look around: today’s Climate Noise Machine is funding “scientists” to trot out “evidence” questioning climate science and donating heavily to (mostly) Republican politicians who oppose almost any effort to address warming. The people and corporations behind the Climate Noise Machine are determined to preserve their own wealth and power, and they have plenty of money to throw around. If they’ll pay people to insist that facts aren’t true, they’ll surely spend whatever it takes to prevent “new” channels or discussions from opening, no matter how clever the framing. And they do have Rushbo and the radio ranters as well as Fox “News” to spout the party line.

As for the actual science — melting ice sheets and rising sea levels — Knight Science Journalism Tracker honcho Charlie Petit rants that NASA’s sponsorship of the AGU study will only “get the Tea Party and other right wingers in Congress even madder, and even more determined to whack as much money as they can from federal agencies [that] insist on using tax payers’ money while finding data indicating that the planet’s climate is changing, not for the better and, the pinkos that they are, slyly making it look like the fault of the modern industrial economy and private enterprise that pay the tax money in the first place.”

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