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March 30, 2008

Got Any More Ice Cubes? Mine have all Melted

I've been reading this book called HEAT by George Monbiot, a British bloke.

This past week you may have heard that an ice shelf in Antartica called the Wilkins Ice Shelf has cracked off about 15 years sooner than scientists had been predicting.

While a wee bit of panic rose in my chest at the news, for the most part I just sat in my comfortable apartment like an unaffected observer and thought to myself, Wow, look at that. Look at that big chunk of ice. I did have the thought, Holy Shit look at that! It was a thought with an exclamation mark if that makes any difference.

Meanwhile naysayers, many of whom have every reason to maintain the status quo, corporations like Exxonmobil are spending millions of dollars a year to divide and conquer and groom our ignorance (referred to in the book as the Denial industry).

They're using their dollars to buy expertise in lobbying and spin doctoring and media relations to ensure that non peer-reviewed science articles (which are by definition circumspect because no other scientist has reviewed them) raise doubts about the existence of global warming and humans' contributions to it.

And, it seems to be working because as a species we are the champions of denial aren't we?

I'm not fat. I'm not stupid. I'm not gay. I'm not having an affair. I'm not emotionally abusive. My marriage isn't a complete sham. I'm a good parent. I'm not a big consumer. I'm not an alcoholic. If you're reading this, you're not going to be around to see the most significant consequences of your denial (even though they're happening now) and that makes it even easier for the Denial Industry to strengthen its grip.

They're getting funding from companies who are used to whitewashing. They've even created pseudo scientific organizations to further their messaging. Remember how the cigarette companies used to claim that environmental tobbaco smoke didn't cause cancer? Remember that movie The Insider about the whistleblower who was the tipping point for the demise of that ridiculous belief? By sheer luck, smoking is apparently as addictive as heroin, so they still have the weakest in their grip.

The World Health Organization now estimates that 150,000 people a year are now dying as a result of Climate change as diseases spread faster at higher temperatures. And, this is all happening as a result of temperatures that are 0.6 degrees warmer says the book.

Apparently, according to the author of HEAT, the cigarette company Philip Morris created a grass roots group but made it seem as if the group was citizens who had come together spontaneously to create the impression that citizens should be concerned about "overregulation" and to continue to raise doubt about the harmful effects of tobbaco smoke.

They even created a name that sounds pretty authentically scientific, The Advancement for Sound Science Coalition (TASSC). It's painted as an independent group. Well, guess who's funding at least three members of the coalition? ExxonMobil. And Phillip Morris.

Follow the money. Always follow the money.

Read the book. Do your own research about George Monbiot. About The Advancement for Sound Science Coalition.

Do just one thing to learn something about the real science behind climate change.

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