'Don't be fooled about climate science. In April, 1994 -- long after scientists had clearly demonstrated the addictive quality and devastating health impacts of cigarette smoking -- seven chief executives of major tobacco companies denied the evidence, swearing under oath that nicotine was not addictive.
Now, the American public is again being subjected to those kinds of denials, this time about global climate change.'
I read this whole piece, and I wish I hadn't wasted my life doing so.
What was the fundamental fact about the attempt by big tobacco to prevent knowledge of the harmful effects of smoking on the human body? It didn't work. Despite billions of dollars and pounds at their disposal, the big tobacco companies were fighting a losing battle.
A much more cogent comparison than the one between big tobacco and the global warming sceptics is between big tobacco and the global warmmongers. The latter are a nexus of big government and big science; these have joined forces with the lefties of the United Nations and the lefties in the news media to wall off every contrary voice. Everywhere you turn, it is stated as irrefutable fact that man is causing abnormal warming to the climate of earth, and that that abnormal warming is a complete disaster. That collection of highly contentious assertions is just as dubious as saying that despite a deluge of anecdotal evidence linking smoking to lung cancer/emphysema/throat cancer etc. there is in fact no causal link.
It is a well-known psychological ploy in sport to claim to be the underdog. Teams have been known to hassle over who is going into the crunch match as underdog for weeks beforehand. Why? Because you get the sympathy of the public. George Monbiot is wielding the alleged astroturfing of anthropogenic global warming scepticism to posit a vast powerful array of well-funded enemies against poor embattled climate scientists in their little under-funded labs. The trouble is, increasingly fewer people believe it.
Back in the 1970's when I was a kid, many people already knew that smoking killed people on a regular basis. Certainly all the people at my church did. What is happening now, in 2009, is that an increasing number of people don't believe what they are being told about who is causing global warming, and what should be done about it. Given the almost complete absence of anti-global warming propaganda, what is going on?
Two things, I believe: the claim that human beings are changing the climate of the whole planet is prima facie hubristic and implausible. And second, people have noted the perfect alignment between what environmentalists say has to be done to 'save the planet from human-caused global warming', and what communists said throughout the twentieth century had to be done to 'save the proletariat from evil capitalism'.
Who would think that was just a coincidence? Apparently George Monbiot. And the people who read the Guardian. And the people at the East Anglia University CRU. But most of the rest of us, not so much.
All I can say is, as long as real climate scientists keep doing real science to find out what is really going on, before too much longer no more mud will need slinging. Because when human beings really set themselves to a task like that, it is silly to bet against them finding out the real facts. And I haven't checked the bookies yet, but I think a good bet would be that man-made global warming is tiny, inconsequential and not worth a tinkers cuss.
Unlike many real environmental disasters looming which we should be spending our time and money and energy doing something about like: deforestation. Massive bio-diversity loss. Over-fishing. Extremely poor land-use in semi-arid areas of the world. To just name a few. Here's a suggestion. Let's do something about those, and deal with global warming/global cooling/giant meteorite/mega-tsunami/meg-volcano when it actually happens.
[Re-edit due to FUBAR]