As climate change continues to rear it's ugly head through extreme weather events, a new study released today gives further proof that the effort to discredit climate change science is alive and well. The author of the study, Drexel University sociologist Robert Brulle, said money is being spent by wealthy individuals and corporations to fuel a 'climate-change counter movement'.
Brulle says,“This is how wealthy individuals or corporations translate their economic power into political and cultural power.”
Some scientists point to this counter movement as 'crimes against humanity.'
"The anti-climate effort has been largely underwritten by conservative billionaires, often working through secretive funding networks. They have displaced corporations as the prime supporters of 91 think tanks, advocacy groups and industry associations which have worked to block action on climate change. Such financial support has hardened conservative opposition to climate policy, ultimately dooming any chances of action from Congress to cut greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet," the study found.
James Hansen, head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City from 1981-2013, has this to say about the continued climate denial campaign that has been rampant for decades: "CEO's of fossil energy companies know what they are doing and are aware of long-term consequences of continued business as usual. In my opinion, these CEO's should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature."
Anticipating charges to be brought against those funding and propagating the climate dis-information movement, Hansen went into say, "If their campaigns continue and "succeed" in confusing the public, I anticipate testifying against relevant CEO's in future public trials."
In another report this year,'Secret funding helped build vast network of climate denial think-tanks', it was disclosed by the Guardian that,"Conservative billionaires used a secretive funding route to channel nearly $120m (£77m) to more than 100 groups casting doubt about the science behind climate change."
It was estimated that $118m was distributed to 102 think-tanks or action groups which have a record of denying the existence of a human factor in climate change.
Donald Brown, an associate professor in environmental ethics, science and law at Penn State University, has this to say about climate science disinformation: "We may not have a word for this type of crime yet, but the international community should find a way of classifying extraordinarily irresponsible scientific claims that could lead to mass suffering as some type of crime against humanity."
Updated 12-21-2013 to include a statement by Robert Brulle, author of the study:
"Robert Brulle pushes back on @Guardian $1 billion/yr spin on his study of "climate change counter movement" funding: "You may have seen the Guardian article on my paper: I have written to the newspaper complaining about this headline. I believe it is misleading. I have been very clear all along that my research addresses the total funding that these organizations have, not what they spent on climate activities. There is a quote in my paper that speaks directly to this: “Since the majority of the organizations are multiple focus organizations, not all of this income was devoted to climate change activities.” It is fair to say these organizations had a billion dollars at their disposal. But they do a lot of other things besides climate change activities, and so saying that they spent $1 Billion on climate change issues is just not true. I did not attempt to analyze the internal spending of these organizations, and so I can say nothing about the total amount spent on climate change activities. I hope that this clarifies the findings of my research.". - Best Bob Brulle
• This article was amended on 21 December 2013
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