The Money Behind Climate Change Denial: Willful Ignorance For Profit
It’s come out recently that a vast majority of the pseudo-science behind “climate change denial” is in fact funded by certain right-leaning donors who are sympathetic to the fossil fuel industry. Some of these industries directly contribute to and fund “research” that is designed to skew reality and produce results that favor them.
This is nothing new, it’s a tactic that is also performed by the meat and dairy industry in order to get people to believe that their products are healthy, and not cancer-causing carcinogens and poisons.
Green Peace did some research into this phenomenon. It turns out some of the biggest right-wing donors and think-tanks are in on this. They know full well the reality of climate science. Even with the muddied statistics brought on by the influx of their pseudoscience, over 97% of scientists and authoritative bodies agree on the evidence of climate change. Which of course is the logical inference, we’re talking about middle school science here. If you add excess carbon dioxide and methane to a greenhouse it’s going to get hotter. Well, the Earth is a giant greenhouse, it functions almost exactly the same.
This is what Green Peace has to say about the issue:
Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch have a vested interest in delaying climate action: they’ve made billions from their ownership and control of Koch Industries, an oil corporation that is the second largest privately-held company in America (which also happens to have an especially poor environmental record). It’s timely that more people are now aware of Charles and David Koch and just what they’re up to.
A growing awareness of these oil billionaires’ destructive agenda has led to increased scrutiny and resistance from people and organizations all over the United States.
The far-right likes to frame the Climate Change issue as if there are two “sides” of an “intellectual divide” warring over what’s true and what’s not, and both sides have equal, plausible arguments. Well, despite what you may have heard, this couldn’t be further from the truth. There is a kind of scientific black hole in this country at the moment: when good swaths of your own population fear and even revile scientific knowledge, logic, and research, you set yourself up for these kinds of problems.
In reality, there is no “debate” about Climate Change. A good portion of all so-called opposition research on the matter stems from right-wing think tanks and oil tycoons literally paying for hand-crafted “findings” that are meant to convert the uneducated and small-minded.
It’s more than just an ideological war, however. There is money in Climate Change denial. In this case, it quite literally pays to be stupid.
Oil Companies Want You To Remain Ignorant
The oil industry by and large knows that it is dying. Oil is a limited resource, after all, and scientists already have a rough estimate as to when this world supply will run out. So right off the bat, you know that oil industry shareholders, CEOs, and gasoline businesses in general, must not like scientists all that much. After all, if someone knew the fate of your own industry and you could do nothing about it, you’d probably be pretty mad too.
So instead of changing their business models and trying to work on a sustainable energy platform, many of these oil-related industries have taken to lying profusely for the sake of profit. Oil is still big money, even though we know it is a dying resource. The vast majority of automobiles still rely on it, and it has a ton of other uses. Everything from mowing your lawn to the plastic we use in toys and water bottles often finds its origins in the oil industry somewhere down the metaphorical “pipeline.” The answer for these corrupt business owners and tycoons has been to engage in wilful ignorance. They are ready to go down with the ship, so to speak, and deny there is even a leak in the hull to begin with.
They feel like they can get away with this partially due to the culture of ignorance that is present in America. It’s not so much that education is the problem, though that’s certainly a part of the issue. It’s simply that stupidity sells here. Vapid television programming, pseudo-intellectualism all over Reddit, 4chan, Twitter, and other forms of social media, empty politics that are almost devoid of scientists and engineers. It’s the arena of the absurd, and in such a place, you better believe you can make low-information individuals believe what you want them to believe.
In everything, you have to follow the money. One of the more hilarious arguments climate change deniers use is that scientists are working the system for grant money. Apparently, thousands of hours of tireless research, investing in new, clean technology, learning how to preserve and maintain our oceans and forests, it’s all for the sake of grant money. Money that has to be used almost solely on research anyway, and that ultimately just gets reinvested in the government. That’s how ignorance works though. You don’t know what you don’t know. There’s certainly money involved, but there is no hardcore money in climate science. The real money is in climate change denial.
I posit a question to any right-wing or climate-denying folks that may be reading this: if the good money was in getting grants for climate research, why wouldn’t these oil companies be jumping on board with it and cashing in on it themselves? Ah, there it is. We all know the truth: oil is one of the biggest industries on the planet. It is truly one of the only “trillion dollar” industries on Earth right now. Compare that to a scientist or group of researchers at a college or institute, who may get a whopping $28,000 to spend over the course of a year doing research.
This is of course an obvious reality. No one in their right mind would think a climate scientist is making any real money compared to someone in the oil industry. If you believe otherwise, propaganda has infected your thinking process.
An USC investigation on climate change denial was published, analyzing how deceptive the biggest oil industries have been in regards to promoting lies and funding “oppo research,” called The Climate Deception Dossiers.
Taken together, the documents show that these six companies, in conjunction with the American Petroleum Institute (API)—the oil and gas industry’s premier trade association—and a host of front groups, have colluded to intentionally deceive the public; their corporate officials have known for at least two decades that their products are harmful; and their disinformation campaign continues today—despite the fact that most of the companies now publicly acknowledge the reality of anthropogenic, or human-caused, climate change.
So not only do scientists know the truth about man-made climate change, they also know the truth about what oil companies are trying to do in an attempt to discredit them and hold onto their industry. The sad reality is, the oil companies have pitted themselves against the side of truth and reality and have decided profits are more important than the environment, human health, and the future of our energy industries. They rather see us languish in pollution and have horrible, outdated infrastructure, if it means they can turn an extra buck at the end of the year. In other words, the oil and gasoline companies are selling the American people up a river.
Politicians Hide the Truth
As politicians actively accept money from lobbyists with an anti-truth agenda, they in turn push this narrative onto the people.
Currently, the White House and Congress are full of people who knowingly mislead the American public by spreading misinformation and lies about climate change. They do this in part because they themselves are deluded and really believe that nothing we are doing to the Earth is changing the climate, despite monumental evidence to the contrary. The other major reason why they do this is because they are merely answering the call of their donors.
Big players in the current administration, including Rick Perry, Mike Pence, and Trump himself, have graciously accepted money from oil and coal companies. Despite feigning a “populist” movement, the Trump administration is rife with money from dirty energy. Some, like Rick Perry and Rex Tillerson, actually have first-hand experience in the biz. Do you really think that they would ever be in favor of the truth? Of course not. They are inherently biased and answer to the hands that feed them.
What this means is that the reality behind climate change gets butchered every day by the very people who are supposed to be looking out for our well-being and the health of our environment. Instead of granting more protection for endangered habitats and upping regulations for dirty energy, they look to rescind what is barely there to begin with, under the guise of helping the economy.
Of course, this is all subterfuge and politics. Coal isn’t coming back. It’s an inefficient, limited resource that only pollutes our environment and wastes time that could be better spent innovating clean energy solutions. It’s a societal black hole. The same goes for oil. These industries will die, and all the jobs associated with them will vanish. This is an absolute certainty, as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow. There’s nothing you, or any politician out there can do to stop. And why would you want to? Are a few thousand “jobs” really that important compared to the technological progress of society, and keeping the environment healthy? Of course not. That’s the reality of the situation.
On the other hand, the economy would flourish with a head-long investment into clean energy alternatives and advanced technology. Any country that tries to avoid investing in this direction is going to pay a heavy price down the road. We know that our current actions are unsustainable and that our actions on this planet need to be refined if we are to save the oceans, protect habitats, reduce the threat of climate change, and create a sustainable future.
Climate Change Denial Has a Price
I understand that there are people that are tired of hearing about climate change. For those who have been affected by right-wing propaganda, hearing about some distressed polar bears or “super storms” must get old. There is a huge disconnect. This is due in part to the scientific community being largely cut off from mainstream discourse. Many people don’t understand how climate change is already affecting the world, often in dramatic fashion, and how these changes will affect each and every American at some point.
It gets worse though. Believe it or not, everything you’ve likely heard about climate change is just the tip of the iceberg. Yes, that’s right. For anyone reading this who is a climate change denier, or who doesn’t really understand climate change, this is especially important. The willful ignorance on the part of our elected officials, coupled with a society that currently fears and loathes scioence and education in general, has largely left people in the dark on this subject.
The fact is, the environment is already obliterated. Yes, on the outside things may appear generally alright, but by every known scientific measure we have available to us, it is clear that the planet is in dire straights, and yes, it is 100% our doing as a species.
Here is just a sampling of some of the devastation happening here and around the world:
- Insect populations have simply vanished. During the summer months in much of the United States, you couldn’t drive a car down a highway for more than five minutes without literally having your windshield covered in a wide assortment of medium and large sized insects. This phenomenon has vanished. In case you are wondering why this matters, not only does it indicate that many species may simply be extinct, it is a metric of health for the ecosystem as a whole. These insects must have provided food for countless animals, and must have also consumed other smaller insects and pests, as well as plants, in more natural ratios. The fact that these bugs are gone raises serious questions about the health of the entire ecosystem.
- Vital insects, such as ladybugs and bumblebees, are scarce. If you are unfamiliar with the role these crucial animals play, it’s important that you learn. Ladybugs, often called Ladybird Beetles, are a carnivorous insect that are harmless to humans but eat pests like aphids, which destroy crops. Aphids have increased in droves over the past couple of decades, and are now the scourge of suburban gardens. This never used to be such an issue, since gardens and farms were full of ladybugs. Bees, of course, are the number one pollinators of some of our most vital food sources. Their mysterious illnesses and vanishings across the United States and elsewhere indicate that the environment is toxic to them, and spells disaster for our farming if the trend continues.
- Bats and frogs are also disappearing. These underrated animals are also crucial to the balance of the environment, especially in the management of bad insect populations. If you wonder why flies and mosquitoes are at record highs, look no further for the answer. Frogs and bats used to be relatively common animals all over the country, but now are becoming increasingly rare. Many kinds of frogs are simply not seen in the wild like they used to. It’s coming to light that as the water in lakes becomes more acidic due to the human waste products that end up in them, many kinds of animals are simply unable to survive or breed. Frogs, a delicate species, are one such animal.
- Glaciers typically have predictable life cycles. We can tell from reading ice cores and using various dating methods, that glaciers take tens of thousands of years to form, and tens of thousands of years to recede. This is normal. However, in less than 50 years, coinciding specifically with the explosion of fossil fuels and factor farming (the leading causes of climate change), glaciers all over the planet have been receding at unprecedented, unnatural rates. Some massive glaciers that under normal circumstances would still be around 10,000 years from now, have completely vanished. As the overall temperature of the planet warms, and the balance of nature is thrown off track, more and more glaciers are going to disappear like this.
- Oceans are dying. If you aren’t really aware of the science behind the deterioration of the oceans, you might be sick of hearing this cliche phrase. “What do you mean the oceans are dying? Everything looks fine when I take trips to the beach or go on my boat.” Again, this is the failure of our media and educational institutions that aren’t teaching people what is really going on in the world. The oceans are a delicate ecosystem. Over millions of years, fish and other marine lifeforms evolved in such a way in accordance within a certain range of the ocean’s natural pH balance. Now that oceans everywhere are becoming more acidic, it’s throwing the entire balance of the ocean off, which is leading to mass “desertification” of reefs and other environments. There are now vast “dead zones” where nothing lives and nothing grows, where only 40 years ago there were massive marine societies. Normally, deterioration and extinction of this kind would take millions of years, yet humans managed to make this happen in only a few decades. Furthermore, because ocean levels are slowly rising, it’s becoming harder for plant-based lifeforms at certain depths to photosynthesize properly, which is leading to a breakdown of the food chain.
- Additionally, over-fishing coupled with the dumping of chemicals into the oceans is leading to further destruction. Without certain species, other species flourish or die off, throwing everything off balance. The spills of oil and other toxic chemicals into the oceans is leading to giant empty areas where nothing lives anymore. Entire species, even entire ecosystems, are gone. This is 100% human work. Many fish are now bred in captivity in disgusting conditions for our food, simply because they aren’t found in viable populations in the wild anymore. You might be wondering what the destruction of the oceans means for climate change. Well, everything is connected. As the oceans die off, it affects the entire globe. Much of the planet’s oxygen is produced by plankton / microalgae, which photosynthesize it. They are at the bottom of the food chain and are the most delicate. As the ocean’s pH rises in acidity, more and more phytoplankton die off, which further deteriorates the ocean and the land. Many fish species are actually suffocating, because the ocean where they live isn’t “oxygenated” enough.
- The imbalances we’re causing are increasing tree diseases and blights. It seems vast swaths of the American suburbs and semi-rural areas have sick trees. How do you know a tree is sick? Does it have several branches that are empty in summer? Does it have any kind of white or green fungus or mold growing up its trunk? Are its leaves spotted, molded, or excessively bitten? These are all signs that the tree is suffering from a disease, and it’s a staple for millions of trees around the country. Relatively rare in a natural habitat, more and more trees are finding it harder to sustain themselves in what is becoming an increasingly toxic environment. Of course, trees are one of the linchpins of the environment. Without them, the entire ecosystem collapses, and us with them.
- Weather patterns have been completely thrown out the window. An exponential increase in tornadoes, super storms, heat waves, cold snaps, droughts, and forest fires have ravaged America over the past couple of decades, and it’s only going to get worse. The entire jet stream has changed, and a huge portion of the northeast in and around Canada now gets artic weather patterns through early winter. It’s important to note that as the overall planet warms, certain areas are going to experience weather extremes, and this includes harsher than normal winters or winter storms. It’s interesting that while the overall temperature of the planet is warming dangerously every year, the Northeastern United States has suffered Siberian temperatures and weather patterns for the last three years during the winter, because of the changes in the jet stream.
- The increase in global temperatures is increasing the rate of certain diseases found and spread in insects like the tick and mosquito that are typically only found in tropical and subtropical climates. As sub-tropical temperatures and weather patterns creep north, so do the insects that thrive in those climates, bringing with them worse diseases. Outbreaks of typically tropical diseases have now reached mainland United States and are expected to get worse as global temps rise.
- Droughts and other unbalanced weather phenomenon, coupled with human overpopulation, is depleting the world’s water supply. Though it is not spoken about by the media much at all, the Earth is already at a critical tipping point for fresh water reserves. Underground wells, springs, and reservoirs worldwide are heavily depleted. There is already talk by companies out West to start building aqueducts from the Great Lakes in order to water crops in the Mid-West and California. The heightened temperatures, coupled with human abuse and overuse of these limited resources, is pushing us all to a crisis point. The worst part is, the water tables will still take hundreds of years to get back to normal, and some places are already experiencing desertification.
- Associated with the droughts occurring worldwide, deserts all over the planet are predictably expanding. Less ground water, hotter temps, and expanding agriculture means drought is going to become the norm all over the planet. Experts agree that even a slightly higher global temperature (in the order of 1 or 2 degrees Celcius) could mean worldwide droughts along the equator, to the point where it would force mass-migrations of humans, leading to mass immigration and possible war.
If you think climate change doesn’t affect us, you’re only kidding yourself. If you haven’t heard of these problems before and are wondering how all of this can be kept from you, look to our politicians, many of whom are completely at the beck and call of the oil and coal industries. They literally can’t tell the truth about climate change and expose its realities to the public, otherwise all of their precious lobby money will fly out the window, and to be honest that’s why half of these people are in politics to begin with. Do you really think sociopaths like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell would really be public servants if money weren’t involved?
A Word About Scientific Grants and Funding
One of the largest prevailing myths (delusions?) about climate change is that it’s some kind of shadow money grab. Like scientists and progressive politicians are in it for the money. Granted, green energy and other environmental conscious businesses will be extremely profitable for the economy as they catch on and become necessary, the actual field of climate change research is not at all “lucrative,” regardless of whatever conspiracy you might here spouted on Rightist talk radio.
The vast majority of scientific grants provided by the government are small, and are itemized. This means that the money provided is literally to run a bare bones research lab with a skeleton crew for a calendar year, with just enough funding included for a specific research or technological development goal. Typical government grants are tiny, and everything must be kept track of. In other words, scientists aren’t pocketing tons of money from their field off of the government dime. In fact, science as a whole is not extremely lucrative. Most scientific institutions hang by a thread to manage their budget every year, and rely on government grants and donations from progressive groups and tech companies who are interested in Research and Development. Were it not for this funding, very little scientific progress would be made, because it is not in and of itself a lucrative endeavor.
Climate change science in general is not making scientists rich in any way, shape, or form. Even the biggest names in R&D, who receive the largest government grants and biggest sums of money from progressive groups, are not “milking the system” or making some kind of awesome underground income on the backs of taxpayers. It’s simply not a thing. If you believe that this is going on, you’ve likely never actually spoken to or met a real scientist. Just like public schools in this country, science is one of the absolute last priorities of the Federal budget, meaning they get the scraps, while the War machine gets the lion’s share of the funding every year.
The Truth About Climate Change
We can’t keep putting up with the wilful ignorance and outright corruption of politicians and talking heads who lie to the public about climate change. In order to make any progress on this and actually preserve the environment for future generations, and the be successful economically as a country, everyone is going to have to get on the same page and cut the denial. We know with 100% certainty the realities of climate change. It’s literally as simple as the greenhouse effect. If you are unsure about climate change and the realities of it, here is the most simplistic breakdown possible:
- The atmosphere of the Earth works just like a greenhouse. It traps gases and retains the heat of the sun. Just like in a greenhouse, if you increase the amount of carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases,” the overall temperature of the greenhouse will increase, and the environment will become more tropical. Eventually, this will lead to imbalances.
- Normally, a certain natural amount of carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere. Sources include decaying animals, fires, animal flatulence, animal exhalation, and volcanic eruptions. However, due to the burning of fossil fuels and the animal agriculture industry, humans have increased the magnitude of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere well over hundreds of times more than the natural rate. In other words, far more greenhouse gases are being released into the atmosphere than can be naturally “regulated.” the result is an overall increase in global temperatures, tropical weather patterns, and general imbalance all over the planet.
- The climate is being further deteriorated by practices such as over-fishing, the acidification of the oceans, deforestation (we need what trees we have in order for them to absorb the excess carbon dioxide), bad agricultural practices such as over-grazing and over-farming, depleted freshwater sources, digging up of fossil fuels (fracking, digging uranium and coal from the ground, etc.), aerosols, depleted uranium landfills, plastic and other unnatural chemically laden substances filling the ocean and seeping into the ground via landfills and littering, as well as animal agriculture in general, which creates an extremely large, unnatural number of land animals that produce millions of metric tons of urine and feces that don’t go through the same sewer treatments as human waste, which leaches into the ground and waterways, leading to an acidic imbalance and land toxicity.
- Literally all of these practices are preventable, because they are all controlled by us.
The time for denial and pseudo-science is at an end. We can’t afford to give an ear to corrupt politicians and think tanks that are purposefully misleading the public just to keep the craven oil and coal industries going for a few years longer. These industries absolutely will crumble, whether we like it or not. There’s a limit to the oil and coal on Earth. The very practice of digging it all up is creating imbalances, let alone burning it and releasing millions of years’ worth of carbon into the atmosphere in the span of a couple generations. This is why the planet is suffering, and it must come to an end.
Progressive minds must lead the way and start us on a track toward investing in clean, renewable energy that not only replaces these fossil fuels, but revolutionizes society, freeing us from the shackles of energy dependency. Climate change is about more than protecting the planet or “environment.” It’s about the millions of innocent animal species that are suffering by our hand, as well as the billions of human lives that will inevitably be affected. It’s about crafting a better society out of the ashes of one that is dependent on crude methods that exploit the very land we live on.
To understand climate change is to realize we have to think smarter, do better, and come together to find real solutions as a species. Trying to artificially resurrect a dead industry like coal is not helping anyone. It’s merely propping up a corpse at this point, it’s furthering people’s delusions and setting the entire country up for a rude awakening when climate change begins to worsen, and the world leaves us behind technologically.
Don’t fall for the lies and absurd platitudes of those who would deny commonsense climate science. Once you understand the basics, such as the greenhouse effect and the fact that it’s absurd to think that we could release hundreds of millions of years’ worth of preserved carbon into the atmosphere in such a short amount of time while simultaneously depleting the world’s forests and zooplankton by over 60% without repercussions, everything begins to make sense. It also helps to know that most far-right politicians who deny man-made climate change are on the payroll of the oil industry, you realize that there is a lot of wool being pulled over a lot of people’s eyes. Don’t be a sheep. Wake up to the plight that the planet is in, and take action.