Late last year, the name Jonathan Gruber became part of the public consciousness for his newly public declarations that Obamacare passed due to the “stupidity of the American voter.” While there are many cases one can cite affirming that most Americans don’t closely follow politics and/or the political process and, therefore, may be called “stupid,” the campaign to sell the manmade climate change crisis narrative proves otherwise.
We are smarter than they think. We are not buying what they are selling.
Global warming has been the most expensive and extensive “public relations campaign in history”—as David Harsanyi calls it in his post at TheFederalist.com. He identifies the “25 years of political and cultural pressure,” as including “most governmental agencies, a long list of welfare-sucking corporations, the public school system, the universities, an infinite parade of celebrities, think tanks, well-funded environmental groups and an entire major political party.” Yet, despite all the “gentle nudging,” “stern warnings,” and “fear mongering,” Harsanyi states: “Since 1989, there’s been no significant change in the public’s concern level over global warming.”
Drawing on new polling data from Gallup, Harsanyi points out that with the past 25 years of messaging, even among Democrats those who “worry greatly” about global warming has only increased “by a mere four percentage points”—with no change in the general public in the past two years.
A Pew research poll on the Keystone pipeline—also the target of years of intense messaging and fear mongering—offers similar insights: “Support for Keystone XL pipeline is almost universal,” reads the Washington Post headline. The poll results indicate that only those who self-identify as “solid liberals” oppose the pipeline.
Clearly, Americans aren’t that stupid after all. We can smell a rat.
It isn’t that we don’t believe the climate changes—it does, has, and always will—but, as Harsanyi states: “there is a difference in believing climate change is real and believing that climate change is calamitous.” He continues: “as the shrieking gets louder, Americans become more positive about the quality of their environment and less concerned about the threats.” And: “as the fear-mongering becomes more far-fetched, the accusations become more hysterical, and the deadlines for action keep being pushed right over the horizon, fewer people seem to really care.”
Harsanyi concludes: “if you haven’t been able to win over the public in 25 years of intense political and cultural pressure, you are probably down to two options: You can revisit your strategy, open debate to a wide range of ideas, accept that your excited rhetoric works on a narrow band of the Americans (in any useful political sense), and live with the reality that most people have no interest in surrendering prosperity. Or, you can try to force people to do what you want.”
With the huge investment of time and money, it appears the fear mongers have chosen the latter option. The regulatory scheme coming out of Washington reflects an acknowledgement that the PR campaign has failed, but that the effort is continually being forced on people who don’t want it—though they may not be following it closely; they may not be politically engaged.
The climate campaigners are continuing to do that which hasn’t worked for the past 25 years—somehow believing they’ll get different results. (Isn’t that the definition of insanity?)
On March 6, “A documentary that looks at pundits-for-hire,” Merchants of Doubt, was released. It aimed to smear the reputations of some of the most noted voices on the realist side of the climate change debate—specifically Fred Singer who has been one of the original climate skeptics. But nobody much wanted to see it. In its opening weekend, BoxOfficeMoJo.com reportsMerchants of Doubt took in $20,300.
A week later, former Vice President Al Gore, as reported in the Chicago Tribune, called on attendees at the SXSW festival in Austin, TX, to “punish climate change deniers”—which is the tactic being used now.
We’ve seen it in the widely publicized case of Dr. Willie Soon, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian center for Astrophysics, who “claims that the variations in the sun’s energy can largely explain recent Global warming.” The New York Timesaccused him of being tied to funding from “corporate interests.”
Similar, though less well known, attacks have been made on Henrik Møller—Denmark’s leading academic expert on noise research, who was fired by his university after exposing a wide reaching cover-up by the Danish government of the health risks caused by wind turbine noise pollution. And, on eminent meteorologist Lennart Bengtsson, who received world-wide pressure after he stated: “I believe it is important to express different views in an area that is potentially so important and complex and still insufficiently known as climate change.”
Even Senator Edward Markey and Congressman Raul Grijalva recently joined the crusade. Paul Driessen draws attention to a letter they sent to “institutions that employ or support climate change researchers whose work questions claims that Earth and humanity face unprecedented manmade climate change catastrophes.” The lawmakers warn of potential “conflicts of interest” in cases where evidence or computer modeling emphasizing human causes of climate change are questioned—but no such warning is offered for its supporters.
Driessen states: “Conflicts of interest can indeed pose problems. However, it is clearly not only fossil fuel companies that have major financial or other interests in climate and air quality standards—nor only manmade climate change skeptics who can have conflicts and personal, financial or institutional interests in these issues.” He quotes Dr. Richard Lindzen, MIT atmospheric sciences professor emeritus and one of Grijalva’s targets: “Billions of dollars have been poured into studies supporting climate alarm, and trillions of dollars have been involved in overthrowing the energy economy.”
But somehow, only those who may receive funding from “fossil fuel companies” are suspect. The anti-fossil fuel movement has been vocal in its funding for candidates who support its agenda.
I’ve experienced this on a small scale. I wrote an op-ed for the Albuquerque Journal warning New Mexico residents about concerns over SolarCity’s arrival in the state—which included offering 30-year financing for rooftop solar panels. A week later the paper published an op-ed that didn’t discount my data, but accused my organization of receiving funding from the fossil-fuel industry. The op-ed was written by an employee of SolarCity—but this didn’t seem incongruous.
The little attack on me allowed me to ask for people to counteract the claim that the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy is not an “alliance of citizens.” The outpouring of support astounded me—though the newspaper didn’t post every comment.
Others, with whom I have been in contact while researching for this writing, provided similar stories of support following the attacks.
In a Desmog post titled “Climate deniers double down on doubt in the defense of Willie Soon,” the author states that Soon’s supporters “circled the wagons.”
In a Scientific American story on Merchants of Doubt, Andrew Hoffman, a professor at the University of Michigan, who studies the behavior of climate skeptics, says: “tit-for-tats between mainstream and contrarian researchers tend to raise the profile of skeptical scientists.” He concludes: “Frankly, this degradation benefits the skeptics.”
Because of the failure of the manmade climate-crisis campaign to capture the hearts and minds of the average American—who, after all, isn’t that stupid—we can expect the Gore-ordered attacks to continue. Expect the fear mongering to become more far-fetched, the accusations to become more hysterical, and the deadlines for action to keep being pushed right over the horizon. When this happens, “fewer people seem to really care.”
Like the mythical Hydra, when one “skeptic” is cut down, supporters “double down”—two more grow to take its place. While designed to silence, the attacks draw attention to the fact that there is another side to the “debate.”