Friday, October 8, 2010

A Profile of Denial


Cordula Meyer bulldozes the wall of obfuscation engineered by disproportionately-funded climate-science denialists, and details their history and cherished tactics:
Whether it was the hole in the ozone layer, acid rain or climate change, Singer always had something critical to say, and he always knew better than the experts in their respective fields. But in doing so he strayed far away from the disciplines in which he himself was trained. For example, his testimony aided the tobacco lobby in its battle with health policy experts....
Whatever the issue, Singer and his cohorts have always used the same basic argument: that the scientific community is still in disagreement and that scientists don't have enough information. For instance, they say that genetics could be responsible for the cancers of people exposed to secondhand smoke, volcanoes for the hole in the ozone layer and the sun for climate change...
In 1993, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published what was then the most comprehensive study on the effects of tobacco smoke on health, which stated that exposure to secondhand smoke was responsible for about 3,000 deaths a year in the United States. Singer promptly called it "junk science." He warned that the EPA scientists were secretly pursuing a communist agenda. "If we do not carefully delineate the government's role in regulating ... dangers, there is essentially no limit to how much government can ultimately control our lives," Singer wrote.
Reacting to the EPA study, the Philip Morris tobacco company spearheaded the establishment of "The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition" (TASSC). Its goal was to raise doubts about the risks of passive smoking and climate change, and its message was to be targeted at journalists -- but only those with regional newspapers. Its express goal was "to avoid cynical reporters from major media."
Singer, Marshall Institute founder Fred Seitz and Patrick Michaels, who is now one of the best known climate change skeptics, were all advisers to TASSC.
More in Der Spiegel.

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