Tobacco hack turned climate change flak

Wed, 2006-08-09 14:19Kevin Grandia
Kevin Grandia's picture

Tobacco hack turned climate change flak

Posted first by thinkprogress.org, check this spin-job by the literallyBonner Cohen unbelievable Bonner Cohen. Like many other former tobacco industry apologists, Cohen has reshaped himself as an expert on the science behind climate change.

Here's the whole interview, and below is a good example of Bonner's spin, and a comparison to his old arguments on second-hand tobacco smoke: 

Caller: “I do believe in global warming… how do you foresee the future if we keep going with the pedal to metal so to speak?”

Bonner: “Your grandchildren would be best served, when considering climate change that we not allow ourselves to be driven by idle speculation, not by computer models. Simply look at the scientific data and see if in fact we are experiencing anything out of the ordinary.”

“…. what i think is vitally important is that for everyone, that we make the decisions that we make with respect to our environmental and energy policies based on the best available scientific data that we have. We cannot afford to do that based on speculation alone.”

Speculation? What is speculative about the science academies of every G8 nation agreeing that climate change is happening and is caused by humans burning fossil fuels? But what do you expect from a guy who, on the issue of second-hand smoke, claimed:

“The science [on tobacco smoke], of which the EPA avails itself, is that which happens to fit the political agenda of the moment …. the one certainty following the EPA's report on tobacco smoke, is that the available science is inconclusive.”

Surpisingly, Bonner does admit that the “think” tank he works for, the National Centre for Public Policy Research, recieves funding from the fossil fuel industry. To quote:

Host: “Our guest also serves as a Senior Fellow at the NCPPR, which is…”

Bonner: “A think tank here in town…”

Host: “How are you funded?”

Bonner: “Mostly through individual donations….”

Host: “Energy industry at all?”

Bonner: “Yes, some”

Host: “Which forms?”

Bonner: “It would, ahh, it would, ahh, from… from the, ahh, fossil fuel industry.”

Big surprise.

It is clear that on the issue of climate change, as it was on the issue of second-hand smoke, that our granchildren would be best served by tuning out the Bonner Cohens - people who will take money from, ahh, just about anybody and then bend the truth to whatever extent is necessary to defend their case.

Comments

I believe that the National Center for Public Policy Research was written up by the San Francisco Chronicle a couple years ago for buying mailing lists of donors susceptible to fear-mongering letters about social security, essentially scaring the expendable income out of the elderly, with most of the money paying for more fundraising activities. Fear mongering by mailing list has become a profitable home business for many on the right, usually under the cover of 501(c)(3) non-profit status.