In 2008, three academics published the paper “The Organization of Denial: Conservative Think Tanks and Environmental Scepticism” in the journal Environmental Politics. The researchers analyzed 141 books published between 1972 and 2005, all of which expressed skepticism about the seriousness of environmental problems, including climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, biodiversity loss, resource shortages, air pollution, and others. Of these, the researchers found that over 92% were published by conservative think tanks, written by authors affiliated with those think tanks, or both.
Contrast that with Naomi Oreskes’ 2004 Science article: “Beyond the Ivory Tower: The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change,” in which she examined the positions taken on climate change within peer-reviewed scientific articles. Of the 928 articles examined, none expressed disagreement with the consensus view that humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions are causing climate change.
Peter Jacques uses their survey to argue that “scepticism is a tactic of an elite-driven counter-movement designed to combat environmentalism.” That is to say, groups with an economic or ideological commitment to the present arrangement – where most energy comes from fossil fuels and the atmosphere is a free dumping ground for greenhouse gasses – are continuing to press for policy inaction by self-serving means, using information and arguments at odds with that in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. None of that is surprising, though it does demonstrate the irony of climate change deniers claiming to be an embattled and persecuted minority, concerned only with getting the truth out despite the efforts of nefarious scientists and environmentalists to silence them.