Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Ideology first, then the science...

I've noticed global warming skeptics usually have a handful of data points upon which they build their case. Fair enough. These facts and arguments are often taken from science authors who work to debunk environmental issues.

Now we know where those authors get their support: conservative think tanks.
Our analyses of the sceptical literature and CTTs indicate an unambiguous linkage between the two. Over 92 per cent of environmentally sceptical books are linked to conservative think tanks, and 90 per cent of conservative think tanks interested in environmental issues espouse scepticism. Environmental scepticism began in the US, is strongest in the US, and exploded after the end of the Cold War and the emergence of global environmental concern stimulated by the 1992 Earth Summit. Environmental scepticism is an elite-driven reaction to global environmentalism, organised by core actors within the conservative movement. Promoting scepticism is a key tactic of the anti-environmental counter-movement coordinated by CTTs, designed specifically to undermine the environmental movement's efforts to legitimise its claims via science. Thus, the notion that environmental sceptics are unbiased analysts exposing the myths and scare tactics employed by those they label as practitioners of 'junk science' lacks credibility. Similarly, the self-portrayal of sceptics as marginalised 'Davids' battling the powerful 'Goliath' of environmentalists and environmental scientists is a charade, as sceptics are supported by politically powerful CTTs funded by wealthy foundations and corporations. [More via Framing Science]
Of course, the lack of independent confirmation by non-aligned scientists does not invalidate their points of view. But it does call into question how widely held their views are in the independent science community.


wayne said...

When we have activists as distinct from environmentalists in Australia responding to any inconvenient fact with an attack on the credentials of the author rather than the science. I despair for our future.

John Phipps said...


There is no attack on credentials I see, just a revelation as to where their backing comes from. as I said in the post, they could be right, but I believe the consensus against them is much broader and includes far more independent researchers.

Please click on "global warming" labels for more on my thought processes for my position.

Thanks for reading.