My friend Antonia sent me a nice article by Jeffrey Sachs, describing what today’s most prominent climate change deniers were doing, before they took up this cause:
Today’s campaigners against action on climate change are in many cases backed by the same lobbies, individuals, and organisations that sided with the tobacco industry to discredit the science linking smoking and lung cancer. Later, they fought the scientific evidence that sulphur oxides from coal-fired power plants were causing “acid rain.” Then, when it was discovered that certain chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were causing the depletion of ozone in the atmosphere, the same groups launched a nasty campaign to discredit that science, too.
Later still, the group defended the tobacco giants against charges that second-hand smoke causes cancer and other diseases. And then, starting mainly in the 1980s, this same group took on the battle against climate change.
What this reinforces is how artificial the climate change denial movement is. Status quo actors, from Duke Energy to Saudi Arabia to Canada’s oil-sands-funded politicians, want to avoid climate change legislation. They have found some shills happy to spread confusion, in order to advance that aim. What is sad is how many ordinary people have lined up to be duped.