NOTES AND LINKS FOR THIS WEEK’S SHOW:
Why do media run “scandals” about climate science? They get full page ads from car and oil companies, and they don’t give a damn about our future. It’s all in the latest ratings, the quarterly profit statements.
But why do we accept it? You know why… today, there’s a good chance you got in your car, turned on a coal-fired light bulb, ate an agro-business meal. We want to believe we are not guilty of polluting the atmosphere.
Some people need to believe that so badly, they are ready to shoot the messengers. Literally. Our climate scientists.
And this anger (at unemployment, declining health care, degraded nature, who knows what all) – is developing from a cult of the few, into a mass movement. The madness of crowds, as we head into the greenhouse world.
That is what this Radio Ecoshock program is all about.
We go to Australia, to talk with Clive Hamilton. He’s a Professor of Public Ethics, supported by Australian National University, and the University of Melbourne. Clive is lighting up the media, with a fantastic new series on climate denial. Plus his controversial new book “Requiem for a Species, Why We Resist the Truth About Climate Change.”
His previous books include Affluenza, Growth Fetish, Scorcher, and Silencing Dissent.
I’ve been reading about harassment and death threats to climate scientists, most recently in an excellent 5 part series by Clive Hamilton. The most recent installment, published in Scientific American, has the sub-head “Researchers must purge e-mail in-boxes daily of threatening correspondence, simply part of the job of being a climate scientist.”
Clive Hamilton is a Professor of Public Ethics, supported by Australian National University and the University of Melbourne. Previously, he founded and ran a progressive think tank called the Australia Institute.
His five part series includes:
February 22, 2010: Bullying, lies and the rise of right-wing climate denial
February 23rd: Who is orchestrating the cyber-bullying?
February 24th: Think tanks, oil money and black ops
February 25th: Manufacturing a scientific scandal
February 26th: Who’s defending science?
I wouldn’t have believed the death threats and low blows, if I hadn’t heard Stephen Schneider’s own story. If I hadn’t talked with other climate scientists who say the same.
As we heard from Clive Hamilton, the world’s best climate scientists, and green activists, are under attack.
Now we’ll hear directly from one of them.
Stephen H. Schneider is Professor of Environmental Biology and Global Change at Stanford University. He’s a Senior Fellow in the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Schneider has advised the federal government during the Nixon, Carter, Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama administrations. He is one of America’s pre-eminent climate scientists, one of the driving forces behind the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
We’ll hear an exclusive interview with Stanford’s famous climate scientist, Stephen H. Schneider. His latest book has been frozen out by major media. His teaching has been harried by attacks from climate deniers. Schneider talks candidly about death threats, and attempts by some in Congress to charge him as a criminal. Shades of Joe McCarthy, as humanity reacts to the bad news – with more madness.
The interview comes in a telephone conversation between Professor Schneider, and one of the few independent environmental journalists left on the planet – Stephen Leahy of IPS, independent press service. Dr. Schneider opens up with news of his alleged crimes against the nation.
That was Stanford’s Stephen H. Schneider talking with Stephen Leahy. Find links to Schneider’s web page in my Radio Ecoshock blog entry dated March 11th. And you’ll find links to Stephen Leahy’s IPS article “Violent Backlash Against Climate Scientists,” as published on the Tierramérica network, hundreds of papers, on March 8th.
Canadian climate scientist and IPCC contributor Dr. Andrew Weaver told Leahy “‘We’re in a bizarre time, powered by greed and fear. The general public is more confused than ever,’ ‘And good scientists are saying to themselves, ‘Why would I want to participate in the IPCC?’
The newspaper world is falling into bankruptcy, due to debt-laden mergers and acquisitions, competition from free information on the Internet, and a generational move from print to audio and video. Hordes of good reporters have lost their jobs – and would you believe it, newspapers tend to let environment reporters go first. Are they protecting their big-business advertisers? Of course not. It’s just co-incidence.
You can help. Stephen Leahy may be the new model – a journalist who works directly for his or her readers. Stephen is off on a whirl-wind tour on three continents, covering conferences ranging from forestry to the oceans. He is your reporter – but Stephen needs help to keep going. Please visit his web page at stephenleahy.net, where you can “Adopt An Environmental Journalist” with a small donation by PayPal. Steve has two kids to feed, and we need to keep him going. Do it.
This is the last gasp of the fossil fuel age. The men who make billions every quarter, the longer they can stall, are buying whoever they can in the media, the blogosphere, and the houses of government.
And this is all tied into a long-standing conspiracy that goes deeper than mere money. It finds a home in Libertarians and ideologues who fear big government, or hate it.
A recent report by the Southern Poverty Law Center says disgruntled Americans are being whipped up by well-known media figures like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Somehow, in muddled minds, the science of climate change has been deftly attached to 911, unemployment, and the new extreme “patriot” groups. That report is called “Rage on the Right.”
The militias, and the haters are back. They fly planes into the IRS, or attack the Pentagon single-handedly. Both Leahy and Schneider worry it’s just a matter of time before a climate scientist is shot as well. I hope they are wrong – but just imagine the coming madness of crowds after a series of strange climatic events. After a heat wave kills thousands, after a mega-storm wipes out another city. After the crops fail, again. Our picture of society may fall off the wall, as anger takes over.
NANCY ORESKES: MERCHANTS OF DOUBT
We’ll go now to a real conspiracy. Three scientists who frightened the world, who morphed from cold-warriors to anti-environmentalism. The founders of the current climate denialism. The institute they founded, named after World War Two warrior general George C. Marshall – took tobacco money, and then oil money, to stop government action, to endanger millions of lives, and future generations.
We’ll get the story from the author of a new book “Merchants Of Doubt, How a Handful of Scientists Obscure the Truth About Climate Change“. Naomi Oreskes is Professor of History and Science Studies at the University of California San Diego. She spoke at the University of Rhode Island, on March 2nd, 2010.
You’ll hear 15 minutes from that speech. Find the whole thing on the climate 2010 page or our web site, ecoshock.org.
1 hour speech as mp3, CD Quality 56 MB (recommended, only mediocre audio quality)
Or Lo-Fi 14 MB(for telephone or slow download locations).
That was Naomi Oreskes, on a tour for her new book “Merchants Of Doubt, How a Handful of Scientists Obscure the Truth About Climate Change”. The recording comes from the Vetlesen Lecture series, at the University of Rhode Island, March 2nd, 2010.
I remember battling Frederick Seitz back in the early 1990’s, on a whole series of environmental fronts. If there was an evil chemical needing regulation, something killing off people or the biosphere, Seitz and his industry backers were against taking any action.
Now the three old men have finally almost faded off the horizon, but their George C. Marshall Institute was taken over by the American Petroleum lobby. The web site exxonsecrets.org lists grants by the Exxon Mobil oil company to the Marshall Institute totaling $840,000 since 1998. The Institute funded and published a who’s who of climate deniers, including the late Sallie Baliunas, Frederick Seitz, Patrick Michaels, Stephen McIntyre, Ross McKitrick, and Richard Lindzen. The tiny crowd who continue to mislead the public about climate science, while whipping up anti-government feelings.
According to Wiki, the executive director of the George Marshall Institute helped develop the doubter’s strategy for the American Petroleum Institute. Wiki continues, quote:
“The institute’s CEO William O’Keefe, formerly an executive at the American Petroleum Institute and chairman of the Global Climate Coalition, is a registered lobbyist for Exxon Mobil.”
So there is the real conspiracy – not by climate scientists to take over the world -but by industry hacks and cold warrior ideologues – to keep us upset and stupid, while the world burns. Beware the doubters and deniers.
But that was history. Now, in 2010, the anti-science belief system sprouted by three American scientists, has grown into a cult for now, and threatens to become a popular movement.
Nature – and physics – don’t care what you believe. What is coming will come.
I’m Alex Smith. As always, I appreciate you taking time to listen to Radio Ecoshock. Write me any time, radio at ecoshock.org.
Opening music from Thamnos. Great new duo from Germany and England. Green aware. Check out their sample audio and video.
Songs: In the Year 2525, two versions: the original #1 hit from 1969 by Zager & Evans, album Exordium & Terminus, RCA End version from Venice Beat, featuring Tess Timony, released 2005.