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The Fossil-fuel Industry's Campaign to Mislead the American People

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by Electric700, Jun 4, 2015.

  1. Electric700

    Electric700 Active Member

    May 21, 2013
    Florida, United States
  2. JER

    JER Member

    Apr 25, 2015
    Bristol, UK
    I agree that there are striking similarities between the denial tactics of the tobacco and fossil fuel industries. There are many other similar examples of this playbook in use, including the related scandal of tetraethyl lead in fuels. However, it does not follow that the fossil fuel industry is racketeering.

    Tobacco supply qualifies, because it services a problem (tobacco dependency) that would not exist without them. Sourcing energy is not a problem the fossil fuel industry created; it's fundamental to the laws of physics.

    The issue is not racketeering, it's that they're satisfying this need in a destructive and unsustainable way, with lots of external costs paid by others. They're guilty of obfuscation, but not racketeering.
  3. Electric700

    Electric700 Active Member

    May 21, 2013
    Florida, United States
    Great points, thanks.
  4. brucet999

    brucet999 Active Member

    Mar 12, 2015
    Huntington Beach, CA
    Although I believe that the climate is warming (something must be causing all those glaciers to melt) I am not convinced yet that humans are entirely or even mostly at fault, and I do not believe that "the science is settled". The oft-quoted "97% of scientists agree" figure is based on faulty analysis of writings of a small sample of scientists, not on a survey of all or even most in the field. Still, I want to drive an EV and install solar panels because reducing CO2 emissions must mitigate, to some degree, global warming effect and it certainly conserves non-renewable resources.

    The fact that fossil fuel industry supports research into climate change does not necessarily mean the work is faulty. Scientists who are skeptical about anthropogenic global warming find it almost impossible to find funding from government or university sources, given the politics involved. Indeed, no less an authority than Dr Richard Lindzen, professor emeritus of atmospheric science at MIT has recently written a piece in the Wall Street Journal (March 5, 2015) about how presidents of universities where such skeptical scientists work have received political pressure from members of congress demanding background information and disclosure of sources of support and funding , including speaking fees, to such individuals. Obviously, such demands from Congress have a chilling effect on university support for such work, not just because of the time and effort to respond, but also due to an implied threat to government funding.
  5. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

    Feb 17, 2013
    United States
    #5 nwdiver, Jun 4, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2015
    What else could it be? Higher CO2 levels isn't just the only plausible answer... it fits almost perfectly... the math works.... we're seeing almost the exact amount of trapped thermal energy as the math predicts we would see.

    OK... Ignore the '97% of scientists agree'.... here's an easier one... 100% of scientific institutions agree. All of them... EVERYONE... NASA, NOAA, DOE, USGS, The National Academy of sciences (FOR EVERY COUNTRY) EVERY major university.

    AND the rise in CO2 is ABSOLUTELY anthropogenic. Our fossil fuel addiction is adding >5ppm/yr to the atmosphere. Levels are rising ~2ppm... the rest is making the oceans more acidic. To say that Anthropogenic Global Warming has been proven beyond ANY reasonable doubt does a disservice to the definitions of 'reason' and 'doubt'...

    The science could not be more straight forward... CO2 causes warming because it allows visible light from the sun to pass while blocking IR light from earth. Different wavelengths of light pass through different molecules more effectively than others. More CO2 = more warming... Fossil fuels are adding MASSIVE amounts of CO2. THERE IS ZERO DOUBT THAT HUMANS ARE CAUSING GLOBAL WARMING.


    CO2 acts like glass... blocking IR light on the right while allowing visible to pass on the left (WHICH IS HOW HUMANS CAN HEAT THE PLANET w/ FOSSIL FUELS). SO2 acts like the plastic... allowing IR to pass on the right but blocking visible on the left (WHICH IS HOW VOLCANOES AND UNREGULATED COAL PLANTS CAN COOL THE PLANET)
  6. JohnSnowNW

    JohnSnowNW Active Member

    Feb 13, 2015
    Climate misinformer: Richard Lindzen

    Are you calling him an authority because of his position, or because his views on climate change are widely accepted?
  7. jkn

    jkn Member

    Nov 29, 2013
    In science theory is proven by doing an experiment. Unfortunately we have only one climate to experiment with.

    Because of enormous heat capacity of oceans climate reacts slowly to increasing CO2. Delay is at least decades.

    When we stop CO2 emissions, atmospheric CO2 starts to slowly decline(*).

    Climate warming stops only after atmospheric CO2 has declined close to natural levels. So warming continues decades or perhaps hundreds of years after we stop CO2 emissions.

    Sea level rise stops only after climate has cooled close to normal. Again delay could be hundreds of years.

    So we have ordered unknown amount of sea level rise. Delivery is starting slowly and continues very long time. Canceling our order will be slow and very expensive process.

    I added * above, because that claim is not certain.

    1: CO2 dissolves better into cold water than warm. So warming oceans could start releasing more CO2 than absorb.

    2: Methane clathrate (see wikipedia) reserves on sea bottoms are enormous. Methane will not stay there if oceans warm enough.

    3: Northern regions have enormous peat reserves. Many of those areas don't get much rain. Most of year temperature is so low that little rain is enough to keep everything wet. So peat reserves keep on growing. Drying caused by warming could reverse this. In large areas of Russia road building is impossible. There is no solid ground to build on. According to one study Finland has more energy in peat than Norway in oil and Finland is very small compared to Russia.

    So important question is: Is it certainly safe to keep on adding CO2 to atmosphere?
  8. richkae

    richkae VIN587

    Jan 15, 2008
    The thing that makes me most annoyed about this entire issue is that some people demand iron-clad proof of X before they will consider any behavior change.

    If you stand on the train tracks I can't prove that the train will kill you - until it kills you.
    It costs you almost nothing to not stand on the tracks.

    There are a great many things we can do to mitigate the change in our atmosphere.
    Some of them are free and better in every way than the old way.
    Some of them have a cost but have provable positive effects that are totally unrelated but make them totally worthwhile.
    Some of them are just choosing between two things that cost about the same: A - which has minimal negative externalities that we know about, and B - which has many probable negative externalities that we can't definitely prove.

    I choose A. I'll choose A even if it's a little more than B depending on the evidence. I know that some hypochondriacs seek out A when the evidence against B is thin, I am not one of those.

    But I can not understand the attitude of "I'll stick with B until you have absolute undeniable proof".
  9. thx1139

    thx1139 Member

    Aug 1, 2014
    Lemont, IL
    I always ask a simple question.

    Either way you bet what if you are wrong?

    A. You bet that Climate Change is real and we make drastic changes. Aggressively move to renewable energy. More subsidies for electric vehicles, self powered homes, etc. etc. Investment in public transportation and infrastructure.

    B. You bet that Climate Change is a lie. Just continue what we are doing.

    Now what happens if you are wrong?

    A. We still end up with a much cleaner, safer, healthier world.
    B. We are totally screwed.
  10. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

    May 10, 2012
    Timonium, Maryland
  11. scaesare

    scaesare Well-Known Member

    Mar 14, 2013
    However, if you read that leaked memo referenced in the article, you see that the game plan is not expend resources to arrive at a "correct" answer, but rather to simply cast doubt on research that's not favorable to their bottom line.

    An organization that's content to generate FUD to preserve the profitable status quo all the while doing so in the name of seeking truth does not engender a feeling of trust.
  12. GoBlue88

    GoBlue88 Member

    Apr 1, 2014
    San Diego area
    Yep, this is where I come down. The consequences of each stance being wrong are vastly nonequivalent.
  13. Jim MacInnes

    Jim MacInnes Member

    Nov 1, 2014
    For anyone who may doubt that the introduction of CO2 and other GHG's into the atmosphere will trap heat may I suggest watching this informative Yale video on how this works. It is based on the well understood physics principle of Black Body Radiation.
  14. Insane

    Insane Banned

    Feb 3, 2015
    United States
    #14 Insane, Jun 7, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2015
    Why fear revealing sources of support and funding ?. Honesty should have no fear. These are corrupt and greedy scientist who will cook anything for the fossil fuel industry. I am sure all scientific claims either side needs to reveal their source of funding.

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