Breaking News

2 people shot in JC December 22, 2014

Your Opinion: Climate change denial dangerous

Dear Editor:

Winter goofiness from conservatives is now standard. There will be a cold spell, snow or ice storm to cite and mock as proof that global climate change is silly. Is this just wacko entertainment?

Is the presentation of any cold weather event on the planet as evidence against a warming planet simply cynicism? Or is it more like global warming denial for simpletons. Climate by definition is an average over time of many weather patterns. What climate scientists say is the trend is all one way. The earth’s climate is being warmed by the greenhouse effect something first discussed by European physicists in the 1820s. Gasses in the atmosphere trap heat and that’s been evident since the beginning of the industrial age. Climate temperatures on a graph today zigzag but definitely go up and up.

Surveys indicate that only 10-15 percent of our population view global warming as untrue. Why is there even that many? And why do radical minority views about our climate get any play at all in our culture?

The answer is the oil industry is the single wealthiest industry on the planet. They spend hundreds of millions of dollars to pollute public discourse while polluting the planet for gain. They call it capitalism. “Merchants of Doubt” is one excellent source explaining how they plan to keep control. The Heartland Institute is an oil-funded organization that seeps disinformation into the public media and schools. Promoting confusion is one goal because it forestalls the public demanding action.

Well-funded propaganda campaigns using only a few scientists have been used to sell the public cigarettes, drugs and sow confusion about the perils of climate change. The techniques were perfected during the tobacco wars. Oilmen talk about freedom, capitalism and shareholders. There is no talk about responsibility. Any effort to limit their ability to make money they label socialism.

Greed is at the core of this misinformation. A loud minority of conservatives would rather believe oil industry paid scientists rather than 97 percent of climate scientists. Call this goofy or wacko but climate denial is more. It is a threat to us all and prevents progress to finding solutions. We owe it to our grandchildren to work together on solutions, not to create confusion. Letting a small minority of climate deniers dictate public policy is nothing less than the “… tyranny of the minority.”

Issue-oriented letters to the editor in response to this or about other local topics are welcome. All letters should be limited to 400 words. The author's name must appear with the letter, and the name, address and phone number provided for verification. Letters that cannot be verified by telephone will not be published. Send letters for publication to editor@newstribune.com