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The network of corporate-funded right wing think tanks in America is massive. The money that flows to these organizations is even more massive than the networks themselves, and it flows in almost total secrecy thanks to Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund.
These think tanks and astroturf groups are the leaders in climate change denial, spreading misinformation and corrupt data to the masses in order to downplay — and in many cases flat out deny — the reality of anthropogenic climate change.
And though we may not have the names of individual donors, a new report from The Guardian does a great job of laying out how much money is flowing to these climate change denial groups.
By Brendan Montague and Kyla Mandel in Vatican City, Italy
The clowns of the climate denial travelling circus pitched their tent in Vatican City today to demand Pope Francis ignore the dangers of global warming.
The increasingly eccentric Lord Monckton played ringmaster to Dr Calvin Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance and Marc Morano from CFACT in a curious performance hosted by the Heartland Institute.
These groups have all been funded by “dark money” from the secretive Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund , which have in turn been funded by the oil billionaire Koch Brothers.
You know that weird sensation when you experience something and you immediately get the feeling you’ve seen that very same thing before?
No, I’m not talking about déjà vu.
I’m talking about watching a press conference from climate science denialists at United Nations climate talks.
Specifically, we’re talking about the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) whose delegation took up the option of a press conference a couple of weeks ago within the confines of the latest round of international talks in Lima, Peru.
In a flyer promoting its press conference, CFACT declared “UN Allows Debate on Global Warming!” – a declaration that sounded like some kind of breakthrough moment when the UN had finally granted a press conference to climate science misinformers.
Except 12 months earlier, CFACT had also been granted press conference time at the talks in Warsaw, Poland (CFACT has long been accommodated by the UN and has also held press conferences at talks in Bonn, Durban and Doha to name a few). CFACT even survived expulsion when one of its delegates - British hereditary peer Lord Christopher Monckton - was debadged in Doha in 2012 after impersonating an official delegate during talks.
ONE block east of Grand Central station, in a skyscraper on 42nd St, is the office of Australia’s Consul-General.
It’s a high profile diplomatic role and one that gives business leaders, thinkers and politicians the chance to see what drives the Australian Government of the day.
In April, Australia will have a new Consul-General taking up that seat on New York's 42nd Street.
Seemingly in lock-step with the prevailing views of the conservative government in Australia, that man will be Nick Minchin — a rusted-on denier of the science of human-caused climate change and power broker in the country’s Liberal (that’s conservative) Party.
Minchin has claimed the “extreme Left” has used environmentalism as a way to try and “de-industrialise” the western world. He thinks human-caused climate change is a scare story.
Minchin’s appointment was announced by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who said the consulate role was “high profile” and that it could be used to “influence perceptions of Australia” in the city.
She said Minchin’s role would be to influence “key individuals and companies across a range of sectors particularly business and politics.”
Things could get a little awkward if talk at those business and political lunches turns to climate change — which it surely will in a city acutely aware of its susceptibility to climate change impacts.
In April 2012, Minchin ridiculed the notion that human-caused climate change was a risk, writing in a column that “despite the hype” the ice at the world’s poles was not melting and that “our cities aren’t being submerged.”
Six months later, New York was submerged by the storm surge from ex-cyclone Sandy.
Climate change-related disasters have been rising for decades; yearly temperatures are rising in a nearly consistent pattern; extreme weather events are costing economies across the globe hundreds of billions of dollars. Despite the mounting evidence that climate change is both real and a major threat to our security, more people are buying into the idea that climate change is a myth.
A new poll from Yale University and George Mason shows that the percentage of Americans who don’t believe in climate change rose 7% in 2013 to 23% of the entire population. While 63% of the general public believes that climate change is occurring, only 47% believe that human activities are to blame. The poll also revealed that less than 50% of Americans believe that climate change will affect their lives, but 65% say that it could harm future generations.
All of the evidence points to the fact that climate change is real and that human beings are making it worse. Scientists agree that it is happening, and the physical evidence is all around us, so the big question is: why is the number of climate change deniers increasing?
The answer is that the misinformation machine has kicked into high gear, and 2013 saw a massive increase in the amount of climate change denial being given a microphone throughout various forms of media.
AUSTRALIA finally has a vocal cheerleader at the COP19 United Nations climate talks currently taking place in Warsaw - a climate denial activist think tank which rejects the science of human-caused climate change.
The Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, or CFACT, a fossil fuel-funded group which denies that emissions from burning fossil fuels cause climate change, declared in a UN-sanctioned press conference inside the talks that the world should be following Australia's lead in repealing laws to price carbon emissions.
Environment groups have been critical of Australia at the talks, giving the country four “Fossil of the Day” awards for slowing down the talks, while one group said Australia is taking an “anti-climate” stance in Warsaw.
Campaigners have been shocked at the rhetoric coming from Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who recently described carbon pricing as a “so-called market in the non-delivery of an invisible substance to no-one” and characterised moves to financially support developing countries to manage climate change as “socialism masquerading as environmentalism.”
Marc Morano, the editor of the ClimateDepot denial website, appeared Tuesday alongside CFACT executive director Craig Rucker. Morano unleashed a torrent of previously debunked climate denial talking points to a sparsely populated and occasionally perplexed press conference audience.
“Coal is the moral choice, particularly for the developing world,” said Morano in the CFACT Warsaw press conference - a comment greeted with laughter from many in the room. Conference hosts Poland have been criticised for simultaneously hosting a World Coal Association conference elsewhere in Warsaw.
“The model for the world right now should be Australia,” Morano said. “Australia gets it. Scientifically they get it, politically they get it and particularly when it comes to the United Nations, they get it. They are pulling out of this, they are repealing their carbon tax and Canada seems to be intrigued by what Australia is doing.”
“Australia gets it - they have realised what the United Nations is doing here today. Viva Australia - let's hope the world follows Australia's model,” said Morano, who is a former advisor to Republican Senator James Inhofe, who has said global warming is a scientific “hoax”.
Support from CFACT is not the kind of attention which Australia will welcome.
If you've even heard of Marc Morano, you probably watched him angrily attacking a climate scientist, journalist or Al Gore on Fox News or on his blog Climate Depot, a project of the Donors Trust and oil industry-funded CFACT. Morano is so agitated in his climate denial that he once advocated that climate scientists be “publicly flogged.”
Originally a producer for the Rush Limbaugh Show, Morano ascended (descended?) to the position of Communications Director for Sen. James Inhofe (R-Denial), where he helped his boss to abuse the power of the Senate hearings process to attack climate science and promote conspiracy theories. Inhofe and Morano were corrected and debunked endlessly, but facts have proven no obstacle to Morano's crusade against science confirming the role of fossil fuel pollution in driving global warming.
Morano has also worked for extreme right wing operatives Howard Phillips, Paul Weyrich and Brent Bozell. Morano once quipped to a group of Agenda 21 conspiracy theorists that, “Inhofe is as far left as I'll go for an employer.”
Morano's current organization, the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), has received over $4.1 million in funds from the shadowy Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund between 2002-2011, plus an additional $582,000 from ExxonMobil between 1998-2012, according to Greenpeace's updated report, Dealing In Doubt.
In partnership with Polluterwatch, DeSmog presents the first in a series of Climate Denial Playbook entries for some of the most notorious climate deniers. Fittingly, Marc Morano kicks off the series:
PERHAPS somebody should write a pocket guide book with the title: “How to spot you've been suckered by a fake grassroots movement”.
Once it's written, these guide books could be distributed free of charge to crowds at anti-carbon tax rallies, US Tea Party marches and pretty much any gathering of a “movement” telling you that you're freedom is being put at risk by big governments, nanny states, new world orders or communists disguised as climate scientists or public health professionals.
But why the sudden need for the guide?
There's now emerging evidence that if these really are “grassroots” movements, then many of the seeds and the fertilisers are being supplied by major corporations and “libertarian” billionaires. It turns out that the US Tea Party movement and its calls for “freedom” from government intervention wasn't some organic uprising of community concern after all.
A new academic study documents how the Tea Party was envisioned and planned by tobacco company executives in concert with Citizens for a Sound Economy, a group established by oil billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch.
As reported on DeSmogBlog, the study “‘To quarterback behind the scenes, third-party efforts’: the tobacco industry and the Tea Party” shows how the industry wanted to hide their profit motive and fear of the government regulating their deadly products behind a “movement to change the way that people think”, as R.J Reynolds Tobacco's head of national field operations Tim Hyde described it.
CNN’s Piers Morgan has fallen into the same “balance trap” that ensnared PBS several months ago, when he decided to “balance” an interview on climate change with Bill Nye by giving a microphone to Marc Morano. Morano is a longtime skeptic of climate change, and a former communications director for noted climate change denier Republican Senator James Inhofe.
Morano, who is the chief correspondent and executive director of the industry-funded blog Climate Depot, was allowed to tell Morgan’s audience that the last two decades have actually provided no evidence that climate change is taking place – a point which Nye was able to disprove with the facts.
From Media Matters:
Offering two “viewpoints” about temperature data and suggesting that scientific facts are up for “debate” is misleading in and of itself. During the segment, Morano claimed that we “have gone 16 years without global warming according to UN data.” Nye pushed back, saying “This will be the hottest two decades in history, in recorded history. So when you throw around a statement like the UN says it's not the hottest 20 years, I got to disagree with you.”
Morano, who at one time was referred to as “Rush Limbaugh’s man in Washington,” was completely unable to back up any of his claims with facts, statistics, or any form of evidence. Nye, on the other hand, used concrete figures that are accepted widely within the scientific community.
Piers Morgan failed to inform his viewers that Morano has absolutely no scientific training, or about the fact that his organization has been funded by dirty energy industry heavy hitters like Exxon Mobil.
Update via MediaMatters: In a blog highlighting the segment, CNN claims it invited “a pair of experts” to discuss climate change, without noting that Morano has no scientific expertise. The blog says Morano “presented an alternate theory regarding the impact, and concern, associated with carbon dioxide,”ignoring that the vast majority of scientists agree that carbon dioxide emissions are driving global warming and that the public should be worried about the impacts of it.