Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Payback Really IS a Bitch!

Many blog readers will recall two years ago when all hell broke loose after innominate hackers broke into the email directories of Michael Mann of Univ. of Pennsylvania and climate research collaborators at Univ. of East Anglia in Great Britain to try to reveal a "climate gate"scandal concealing a "hidden agenda". Of course, the Neo-liberal, corporate-coopted media picked up on a lot of this kerfuffle because, let's face it, they always get a hard-on for conflict - never mind the underlying issues.

So again, they framed it as a "Gotcha!" moment with the Denier faction "striking back" against those pointy-headed climate scientist nerds that really have the evidence for warming but just want to keep deniers out of their precious journals! Never mind that all this turned out to be mostly a storm in a teacup.

For exmple, Myles Allen of Oxford University, quoted in a Financial Times article from July 29, 2010, observed that it was clear from the accumulated work of climate scientists that human-engendered greenhouse gases were the problem. In his words (ibid.):

"Climategate never really brought climate science into question at all."

Meanwhile, according to an EOS Transactions article on the outcome ('Report on Climate Change Emails Exonerates Scientists', Vol. 91, No. 29, July 20, 2010):

"The report (Commissioned by the University of East Anglia) specifically refutes a number of concerns raised about tampering with scientific data and notes that allegations about CRU (Climate Research Unit) scientists misusing the IPCC's process 'cannot be upheld'"

The American Geophysical Union's own take on the email flap was even more blunt and to the point, reported in December, 2009, noting:

"The AGU finds it offensive that these emails were obtained by illegal cyber attacks, then exploited to distort the scientific debate about the urgent issue of climate change".

Now it appears that payback has arrived, at least on one of the funded denier outfits, The Heartland Institute. According to a news brief making today's Denver Post (p. 7A), a prominent environmental activist, researchers and blogger - Peter H. Gleick - used subterfuge to obtain and distribute "confidential" internal materials from Heartland, which is dedicated to spreading lies on global warming which they dare call "questioning". (Hmmmmm.....how many cranks today are still "questioning" the sphericity of the Earth and the fact it orbits the Sun, not the converse? Well, maybe Rick Santorum, but not many others!)

Basically, Gleick didn't commit the terrorist act of actually hacking into a system as the rogue predators who obtained material from Michael Mann and East Anglia did. Rather he resorted to the simple expedient of posing as someone else to get the materials which included strategy and fund raising documents as well as the outline of a plan for major "greenwashing" by delivering "educational materials" to elementary school students to try to disabuse them of the global warming paradigm.

The last echoes earlier green washing efforts (cf. Polluters in the Classroom, by Chris Bedford, in Chesapeake Newsletter, The Sierra Club, May/June, 1998, p. 1), noting:

"Ironically, the polluting corporations contending that environmental education turns kids into 'green-eyed monsters' are dumping misinformation into our classrooms. For example, a video Exxon distributes rewrites the history of the worst oil spill ever as a 'great test for their cleanup equipment'."

Other green washing initiatives noted in the same piece included:

-The American Coal Foundation's 'Power from Coal'

-Proctor and Gamble's 'Planet Control'

-The Chlorine Institute's 'Welcome to Block City'

-Dupont's 'Less Is More - Learning About Source Reduction'

The principle operative throughout, the byword as it were, is that "every teachable moment is an advertising moment." And, in the same voice, the message is launched that ecological concerns are misplaced hysteria, or 'mythologies'.

And what, pray tell, was the response of the right wing reactionary financial press to Gleick's expose? Well, it was found in today's WSJ Editorial, 'The Not So Vast Conspiracy' noting that from available documents, Heartland is going to get barely "$7.7 million this year" - which they contend is toddly squat to the World Wildlife Fund which took in $238.5 million last year.

But this compares chalk and cheese.

First of all, only a minor portion of WWF's funds actually goes to climate research or education. If the total is $10 million, I'd be amazed. As a steady recipient of their literature, I see most (99%) is devoted to saving this or that species on the verge of extinction, from certain monkeys in Madasgascar to Polar Bears to Bengal Tigers. Thus, their emphasis is not on the climate aspect so much.

Second, there are many dozens of denier outfits apart from Heartland which the WSJ dares not mention, including:The Global Warming Coalition (definitiely funded by Big Oil and the fossil fuel0coal lobbies which investment the WSJ denies), The George C. Marshall Institute, which is a haven for publishing "research" by dedicated denier "scientists" such as Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas- who in a 2003 paper used 50-year data increments to conceal a CO2 warming effect, when the IPCC scientists already disclosed anthropogenic warming appears at 30 -year increments.

We refer to this as selection bias.

Then there is the American Enterprise Institute, which offered and as far as I know continues to offer, $10,000 per article to denier "scientists" to question global warming, the IPCC, or any adjuncts of them to do with climate research.

Above all, the WSJ conveniently omits the massive benefits in brain (green-)washing redounding to all the reactionary think tanks and their denier participants, politicos each time one publishes (for FREE) a syndicated column extolling or applauding global warming skepticism. It is such columns that we put into the category of public relations, not genuine information or scientific knowledge. (For more on the PR industry get the book, 'Toxic Sludge is Good for You' now available used on amazon.com for pennies).

Thus, we have a large interlinked network of deniers, including all the above named think tanks, plus American Heritage Foundation, Hudson Institute, Hoover Institute, CATO Institute and many others linked in common cause to try to baffle Americans with their flat Earth bullshit. Putting all of them together, I daresay the monetary -funding benefits accrued rival the WWF, the Natural Resource Defense Council and many progressive outfits by at least 5-1 in terms of bang for the buck delivered. (Certainly, I seldom if ever see a column in the Denver Post or anywhere composed by someone from the WWF or NDRC, as often as I see denier bunkum from a hack hailing from one of the reactionary tanks like CATO)

As I've stated in earlier blogs, I wouldn't have so much of a problem if these denier networks just came out and openly stated they fear the economic costs of carbon limits and taxes, and THAT is why they are actively fighting the IPCC, the AGU, the NOAA and others in the scientific - reality based - realm. Their campaigns then, are based on preservation of finance capital and profits, as opposed to any science!

Hence, don't come back with half-baked, specious mumbo-jumbo based on "sunspots", "natural warming cycles", "cosmic rays", or other bull pockey that seeks to challenge the established science with pseudo-science and piffle while insisting that the "warming mongers are doing it for the money-grants". Believe me, folks, the grant money isn't all that much and pales beside what the capitalist think tanks get each year - including freebie space in the mainstream press under the guise of 'syndicated columns" offered by the think tanks!

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