Monday, December 23, 2013

Follow the money... why do people go along with it ?

A new study adds some more substance to what many know: a very few, very rich men have been playing puppet masters and driving the "climate-change counter movement's" publicity campaign which is solely dedicated to stonewalling all substantive efforts to understand and mitigate what we are doing to our atmosphere.

The real tragedy is that these groups use blatantly phony tactics, repeatedly misrepresent science.  They spend most their effort manufacturing scandals, witch-hunts, and character assassination   -  in ways that an informed public ought to be able to see through.  But, Americans seem to have become so Hollywood-ized that they don't care to differentiate between a con job and honest professionalism anymore: "Just tell us what we want to hear."

Why?  Is it because we have come to expect that every material desire is our birth-right and damn anything or anyone who dares suggest otherwise?

But, the reality is that this isn't the 1970s anymore. 
It's not about climatologists making conjectures anymore!

Our planet's Arctic Ice cap is disappearing at an astounding rate;
and the rest of the cryosphere isn't doing much better;
the planet as a whole continues warming
the Jet Stream continues getting weirder;
driving ever more extreme weather patterns and infrastructure damaging events.

CO2 IS an key greenhouse gas and does act as atmospheric insulation;
Society IS, in essence, adding extra thermo blankets onto our planet and the warming will continue.

This isn't open to rational debate anymore, the evidence has become too overwhelming.

But, it sure is open to endless irrational stonewalling 

and the dishonest intentions of one-sided "skeptics" who think their political cause makes them smarter than professional scientists who have dedicated their lives to gaining a thorough understanding of our Global Heat Distribution Engine, aka climate system.

It's appalling and heartbreaking.  

Whatever happened to a healthy sense of self-skepticism and a willingness to allow new and valid information to prove oneself wrong and to learn new lessons?

What about seeking all the information that is available rather than ignoring what one finds uncomfortable?

What about taking our children's and their children's futures seriously?

Maybe the biggest question is how can some become so greed-blinded and monomaniacal that they feel compelled to launch such ruthless, cynical and blatantly dishonest attacks on all serious attempts at learning about and understanding climate science in a rational manner?

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Conservative groups spend up to $1bn a year to fight action on climate change
• Author: 'I call it the climate-change counter movement'
• Study focuses on groups opposing US political action

Suzanne Goldenberg US environment correspondent, Friday 20 December 2013 14.58 EST

Conservative groups may have spent up to $1bn a year on the effort to deny science and oppose action on climate change, according to the first extensive study into the anatomy of the anti-climate effort.

The anti-climate effort has been largely underwritten by conservative billionaires, often working through secretive funding networks. They have displaced corporations as the prime supporters of 91 think tanks, advocacy groups and industry associations which have worked to block action on climate change. Such financial support has hardened conservative opposition to climate policy, ultimately dooming any chances of action from Congress to cut greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet, the study found.

“I call it the climate-change counter movement,” said the author of the study, Drexel University sociologist Robert Brulle. “It is not just a couple of rogue individuals doing this. This is a large-scale political effort.”

Brulle's study, published on Friday in the journal Climatic Change, offers the most definitive exposure to date of the political and financial forces blocking American action on climate change. Still, there are big gaps. 

read the full story here

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About Robert Brulle PhD

Brulle has authored numerous articles and book chapters on environmental science, and is a frequent media commentator on climate change. He co-edited "Power, Justice and the Environment: A Critical Appraisal of the Environmental Justice Movement" (2005) with David Pellow, and is the author of "Agency, Democracy, and Nature: U.S. Environmental Movements from a Critical Theory Perspective" (2000). 

Brulle previously served as a commissioned officer in the United States Coast Guard for two decades. He received a doctorate in sociology from George Washington University, a master of science degree in natural resources from the University of Michigan, a master of arts degree in sociology from the New School for Social Research and a bachelor of science degree in marine engineering from the United States Coast Guard Academy.  

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December 23, 2013 —  

Key findings include:
  • Conservative foundations have bank-rolled denial. The largest and most consistent funders of organizations orchestrating climate change denial are a number of well-known conservative foundations, such as the Searle Freedom Trust, the John William Pope Foundation, the Howard Charitable Foundation and the Sarah Scaife Foundation. These foundations promote ultra-free-market ideas in many realms.

  • Koch and ExxonMobil have recently pulled back from publicly visible funding. From 2003 to 2007, the Koch Affiliated Foundations and the ExxonMobil Foundation were heavily involved in funding climate-change denial organizations. But since 2008, they are no longer making publicly traceable contributions.

  • Funding has shifted to pass through untraceable sources. Coinciding with the decline in traceable funding, the amount of funding given to denial organizations by the Donors Trust has risen dramatically. Donors Trust is a donor-directed foundation whose funders cannot be traced. This one foundation now provides about 25% of all traceable foundation funding used by organizations engaged in promoting systematic denial of climate change.

  • Most funding for denial efforts is untraceable. Despite extensive data compilation and analyses, only a fraction of the hundreds of millions in contributions to climate change denying organizations can be specifically accounted for from public records. Approximately 75% of the income of these organizations comes from unidentifiable sources.

The full paper is available here.

News Media Contact
Alex McKechnie

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Secret funding helped build vast network of climate denial thinktanks
Anonymous billionaires donated $120m to more than 100 anti-climate groups working to discredit climate change science 

Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent 
The Guardian, Thursday 14 February 2013 08.39 EST

Conservative billionaires used a secretive funding route to channel nearly $120m (£77m) to more than 100 groups casting doubt about the science behind climate change, the Guardian has learned.

The funds, doled out between 2002 and 2010, helped build a vast network of thinktanks and activist groups working to a single purpose: to redefine climate change from neutral scientific fact to a highly polarising "wedge issue" for hardcore conservatives.

The millions were routed through two trusts, Donors Trust and the Donors Capital Fund, operating out of a generic town house in the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington DC. Donors Capital caters to those making donations of $1m or more. ...

read the full story here

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How Donors Trust distributed millions to anti-climate groups
The secretive funding network distributed $118m to 102 groups including some of the best-known thinktanks on the right

Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent 
The Guardian, Thursday 14 February 2013 

The secretive funding channel known as the Donors Trust patronised a host of conservative causes.
But climate was at the top of the list. By 2010, Donors Trust had distributed $118m to 102 thinktanks or action groups which have a record of denying the existence of a human factor in climate change, or opposing environmental regulations.

But relatively obscure organisations did not go overlooked. The Heartland Institute {see here, and here }, virtually unknown outside the small world of climate politics, received $13.5m from the Donors Trust {see here, and here }.

Americans for Prosperity {see here, and here }, the Tea Party group seen as the strike force of the conservative oil billionaire Koch Brothers {see here, and here}.

The support helped the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (Cfact) {see here, and here }, expand from $600,000 to $3m annual operation. In 2010, Cfact received nearly half of its budget from those anonymous donors, the records show.

The group's most visible product is the website, Climate Depot {see here, and here }, a contrarian news source run by Marc Morano {Climate Change Misinformer of 2012}. Climate Depot sees itself as the rapid reaction force of the anti-climate cause. On the morning after Obama's state of the union address, Morano put out a point by point rebuttal to the section on climate change.

The gregarious Morano is a former aide to the Republican senator Jim Inhofe notorious for declaring climate change the greatest hoax on mankind.  According to Cfact's tax filings, Morano, listed as communications director, was the most highly paid member of the organisation. ...

read the full story here

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also see

A Drexel University study finds that a large slice of donations to organizations that deny global warming are funneled through third-party pass-through organizations that conceal the original funder  |  December 23, 2013

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Read the full story of what scientists have learned about our global climate system:
Climate Change 2013:

The Physical Science Basis 
IPCC Working Group I Contribution to AR5 
The Twelfth Session of Working Group I (WGI-12) was held from 23 to 26 September 2013 in Stockholm, Sweden. At the Session, the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) of the Working Group I contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (WGI AR5) was approved and the underlying scientific and technical assessment accepted. 

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