Ordinary ponzi schemes pretending to be worthwhile investments collapse if they aren’t constantly infused with new money, and when anyone starts asking tough accounting questions. The theory of man-caused global warming is kept afloat only because a sizable portion of the public believes the issue is settled, and that our efforts to reduce greenhouse gases will stabilize the climate. Faith in the issue is continually propped up with new stories that no ‘legitimate’ critics exist. But what happens when the IPCC / Al Gore side can’t answer questions any better than Bernie Madoff?
Near the end of my first RedState piece on the smear of skeptic scientists, I noted how a Society of Environmental Journalists board director couldn’t be bothered to tell me which other journalists corroborated book author Ross Gelbspan’s accusation that skeptic climate scientists were being paid to deliberately mislead the public.
I’m still searching the internet to find anyone who independently corroborates that lone accusation. Hard scrutiny reveals the different accusations virtually all spiral right back to a small group of people associated with the enviro-activist group Ozone Action and Ross Gelbspan, circa early 1996. A scant few point back to a period of time in 1991, and I first detailed the enormous problems with those at Marc Morano’s Climate Depot, then here at RedState. Long story short: Gore praised Gelbspan for discovering 1991-era coal industry PR campaign memos supposedly proving the corruption accusation, but Gore had the memos in his Senate office years before Gelbspan. Houston, we have a problem….
Last week, the New Scientist magazine coughed up the same old accusation when it reviewed Orrin Pilkey’s new book Global Climate Change (backup link here in case their link goes behind a pay wall later). In the magazine review’s third paragraph, the book’s quotes are the same words from the 1991 coal industry PR memos – “older, less educated males” and “younger, lower-income women” – that were seen in Ross Gelbspan’s 1997 book The Heat is On, and in Gore’s 1992 Earth in the Balance. The insinuation is that the PR campaign knew its message was false and had to target gullible people.
The plot gets thicker. Google Books has a preview of Pilkey’s book, and in a page prior to the above quotes, he regurgitates the infamous “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact” accusation phrase, saying it was one of seven strategy points of PR documents put online by Naomi Oreskes, and that the PR campaign took place in four cities, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Champagne, Illinois, Flagstaff, Arizona, and Fargo, North Dakota.
Wrong on both counts. There were nine strategy points, and regarding the claim that Oreskes put the documents online, that comes from George Monbiot’s Dec 2009 blog, where it turns out his link was just to Oreskes’ oft-repeated 2007 PowerPoint presentation which only quoted the memos. Seems unlikely that Pilkey would make a typo of the point number total if he actually saw the complete-context memos. As we can see at the page 10 scan enlargement here, there is no mistaking the number count, or that Bowling Green, Kentucky was also part of the PR campaign tour, as seen at the page 14 scan.
Astute readers rummaging through the rest of the 1991 coal industry PR campaign memos there are able to see that the whole collection is not the sinister top-down industry directive it’s portrayed to be, but is instead just an interoffice set of memos to guide a little five-town information campaign designed to point out contradictions between Al Gore’s side of the story and existing – not fabricated – opposition to it. Ross Gelbspan made the claim that “we got a copy of the strategy papers for that campaign. And it said that the purpose of the campaign was to reposition global warming as theory rather than fact…They sent these scientists all over the country to do media interviews.”
Right. Wouldn’t ‘all over the county’ mean major population centers like L.A. Philadelphia, Seattle, Boston, Miami? But first, who gave him copies of the strategy papers? Al Gore? And if nobody disproves these scientists’ science assessments outright, what was so sinister about this campaign?
I could go on for another couple thousand words. Oreskes has her own circuitous problems with citing Gelbspan, and then we have the problem just recently where Gore profanely accused skeptic scientists of corruption and cited Oreskes instead Gelbspan. There is also the problem with a 1991 article by Mary O’Driscoll in The Energy Daily titled, “Greenhouse Ads Target ‘Low-Income’ Women, ‘Less-Educated Men’ .” It was written prior to the July 8, 1991 NY Times article Gore indirectly cited in just the 12th paragraph of his 7000 word Rolling Stone magazine diatribe a couple of months ago. Not a word of praise going to O’Driscoll from Gore, Oreskes or Pilkey.
I’m no investigative reporter, though, just someone with an accumulation of computer notes on this whole mess that’s probably over 66,000 words, and my plea is for professional journalists to take this beyond my limited means. I’ve unearthed more than enough red flags, it’s time for others with more resources to see how deep all these problems go.
There appears to be only one source for the accusation against skeptic scientists. It is unsupportable, and a rather small cast of characters spirals around it. This is especially ironic considering the way Pilkey says at the opening of his Chapter 4, “…the hoax is being perpetuated by public relations efforts by the fossil fuels industry.”
When enviro-activists offer no more than a worn out, 20-year old, paper-thin, guilt-by-association accusation saying skeptic climate scientists are paid by oil and coal executives to deliberately stall action to mitigate global warming, then we probably have the opposite problem: A ponzi scheme of incessant media story infusions designed to steer the public away from seeing skeptic scientists as whistleblowers on an idea that can’t support its own science assessments.
Russell Cook’s collection of writings on this issue can be seen at “The ’96-to-present smear of skeptic scientists.“ and readers can follow him on Twitter via “@QuestionAGW“