Monday, December 7, 2009

Anyone who claim that the human contribution of Co2 to the atmosphere has no effect on climate is denying the obvious ... no discussion is possible

"Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the 'body of fact' that exists in the minds of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy"
-Cigarette company executive, "Manufacturing Doubt" in the 1960 to counter the facts about the cancer link to cigarettes.

Global warming is again in the headlines. While the deniers and skeptics are trying to debunk what is actually happening countries around the world are meeting in Copenhagen beginning today to tackle the issue of climate change. There are skeptics and deniers who have bought into the claim that climate change is all a plot to weaken our economic position in the world and destroy our economy, so that the third world can get a leg up. It is a stupid argument. The economic downturn currently effecting western nations and the United States has hurt the third world twice as much as anyone else. They depend on the west for financial aid, in addition to western manufacturing plants that have moved to the third world that would be hard hit if the the western economies declined more than they have at this point. To also claim that global warming is due to the sun and that the methane problem is due to flatulent cows alone is another bogus argument. There are definitely many more cows in the world than a hundred years ago, due to the world's demand for meat and they do have a gas problem, but to ignore the coal fired plants and industrial pollutants and auto emissions is laughable if not intellectually incompetent.

Any scientist will tell you that there can be no certainty when it comes to the science of climate change but there is a high degree of probability based on the research. The fact that some emails were found where scientists were discussing inconsistencies and how to present them still doesn't change the facts. As Abraham Lincoln said "How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four; calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg." For every gallon of gasoline a car uses it puts nineteen and a half pounds of Co2 into the atmosphere; multiply that by the millions of automobiles on the roads around the world every day for just one year and then say that that has no effect. Anyone who claim that the human contribution of Co2 to the atmosphere has no effect on climate is denying the obvious and there is no intelligent discussion possible.

There is something called "manufactured doubt", it was a concept developed by the PR firm, Hill and Knowlton who were hired by the cigarette industry back in the sixties to conceive of an idea to convince the public that cigarettes didn't cause cancer and counter the scientific research that showed that smoking led to cancer. They created their own pseudo research organizations that pumped out reports debunking the medical research, creating doubt and uncertanty. A cigarette company executive has said, "Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the 'body of fact' that exists in the minds of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy".

The new mission is manufacturing doubt about climate change. Manufactured Doubt is now an industry that has matured to become an effective tool used by industries such as the coal industry, the oil industry and even the health insurance industry, evidence the campaign to convince the public to act against their own self interest when it comes to health insurance.

Climate change is one of the new battle grounds. Climate change legislation is opposed by the fossil fuel industries. They have pumped millions of dollars to obfuscate the issue that climate change is man made. They have created doubt. An examination of the money trail shows the commitment of industry in it's opposition to climate change. "[T]he amount of money being spent on lobbying efforts by the fossil fuel industry compared to environmental groups to see their relative influence. According to Center for Public Integrity, there are currently 2,663 climate change lobbyists working on Capitol Hill. That's five lobbyists for every member of Congress. Climate lobbyists working for major industries outnumber those working for environmental, health, and alternative energy groups by more than seven to one. For the second quarter of 2009, here is a list compiled by the Center for Public Integrity of all the oil, gas, and coal mining groups that spent more than $100,000 on lobbying (this includes all lobbying, not just climate change lobbying):" The

Chevron $6,485,000
Exxon Mobil $4,657,000
BP America $4,270,000
ConocoPhillips $3,300,000
American Petroleum Institute $2,120,000
Marathon Oil Corporation $2,110,000
Peabody Investments Corp $1,110,000
Bituminous Coal Operators Association $980,000
Shell Oil Company $950,000
Arch Coal, Inc $940,000
Williams Companies $920,000
Flint Hills Resources $820,000
Occidental Petroleum Corporation $794,000
National Mining Association $770,000
American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity $714,000
Devon Energy $695,000
Sunoco $585,000
Independent Petroleum Association of America $434,000
Murphy Oil USA, Inc $430,000
Peabody Energy $420,000
Rio Tinto Services, Inc $394,000
America's Natural Gas Alliance $300,000
Interstate Natural Gas Association of America $290,000
El Paso Corporation $261,000
Spectra Energy $279,000
National Propane Gas Association $242,000
National Petrochemical & Refiners Association $240,000
Nexen, Inc $230,000
Denbury Resources $200,000
Nisource, Inc $180,000
Petroleum Marketers Association of America $170,000
Valero Energy Corporation $160,000
Bituminous Coal Operators Association $131,000
Natural Gas Supply Association $114,000
Tesoro Companies $119,000

Here are the environmental groups that spent more than $100,000:

Environmental Defense Action Fund $937,500
Nature Conservancy $650,000
Natural Resources Defense Council $277,000
Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund $243,000
National Parks and Conservation Association $175,000
Sierra Club $120,000
Defenders of Wildlife $120,000
Environmental Defense Fund $100,000

It is basically profits before everything else. The livability of the planet is not important. The greatest harm will be to the third world as they are the least prepared to cope. The deaths, and displacement of millions and maybe billions of souls is of no importance before the almighty god 'Corporate Profits'. Social responsibility be damned. Only when it becomes personal will the deniers, contrarians and skeptics scream uncle.
The science is out there and it is scary. The scientists on the front line that do the work are frightened and have sent the message but the question is, are enough people listening, and is there still time to stave of the worst that could befall us? Is Copenhagen humanities last chance, or is it already too late? My forlorn hope is that sanity prevails and a sense of urgency take hold and something positive begins in Copenhagen for if it doesn't, the alternative is unthinkable.


For the skeptics, deniers, and those people with their heads up the butts, read Bill McKibben's report. If this doesn't move you your brain is on permanent hiatus.
"Physics has set an immutable bottom line on life as we know it on this planet. For two years now, we’ve been aware of just what that bottom line is: the NASA team headed by James Hansen gave it to us first. Any value for carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere greater than 350 parts per million is not compatible "with the planet on which civilization developed and to which life on earth is adapted.” That bottom line won’t change: above 350 and, sooner or later, the ice caps melt, sea levels rise, hydrological cycles are thrown off kilter, and so on.

And here’s the thing: physics doesn’t just impose a bottom line, it imposes a time limit. This is like no other challenge we face because every year we don’t deal with it, it gets much, much worse, and then, at a certain point, it becomes insoluble -- because, for instance, thawing permafrost in the Arctic releases so much methane into the atmosphere that we’re never able to get back into the safe zone. Even if, at that point, the U.S. Congress and the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee were to ban all cars and power plants, it would be too late.

Oh, and the current level of CO2 in the atmosphere is already at 390 parts per million, even as the amount of methane in the atmosphere has been spiking in the last two years. In other words, we’re over the edge already. We’re no longer capable of “preventing” global warming, only (maybe) preventing it on such a large scale that it takes down all our civilizations."

Bill McKibben

Recommended Book: Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming
From Publishers Weekly
Canadian environmental activists Hoggan and Littlemore pull no punches in this spirited indictment of global warming deniers. Their well-sourced research spotlights premeditated prevarications about the threat of greenhouse gas emissions by the oil and coal industry, in league with junk scientists, compliant conservative politicians and unsavory public relations practitioners. Persistent obfuscation of science by these anti-environment players is further abetted, say the authors, by a manipulated media that, in a misguided effort toward journalistic balance, pairs scientific certainty about an encroaching climate crisis with quotations from people who make a living denying it. Readers predisposed to believe the worst about the oil, coal and electric industries will find their fears buttressed by the book's detailed overview of an orchestrated climate coverup by Astroturf (fake grassroots) organizations, right-wing think tank echo chambers, the tens of millions of industry dollars poured into primarily Republican campaign coffers and the PR profession's Orwellian use of language. But global warming skeptics might also be swayed by the detailed dissection of an ongoing campaign to convince the public that climate change is still unproven. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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