"Doubt" Video On Fossil Fuel Industry's Tobacco PR Tactics To Undermine Science

Doubt is our product

In case you didn't manage to catch all 24 hours of the Climate Reality Project (I mean, what the heck else were you doing?), I wanted to flag this one video for you, as it's particularly germane to the ongoing coverage here at DeSmogBlog.

It's called “Doubt,” and it's about how the fossil fuel industry took the tobacco industry's playbook (didn't just borrow a play, but really the whole playbook) to confuse the public on the science of climate change. Not by disproving the facts – because that's impossible – but just by creating enough doubt to make a busy public dismiss it.

DOUBT from The Climate Reality Project on Vimeo.

Here's the core of it all:

“How did the tobacco companies manage to lie to the public in face of all the scientific evidence?

They realized that the science didn't need to be disproven. It was enough to create doubt in the minds of the public to keep them from recognizing the truth.”

While the subject might be one that we dive deep into regularly (and which Chris Mooney has covered from every direction, upside down and backwards), I think it's important to spotlight a broader birds-eye perspective like this one. Especially as the video is incredibly well produced, and could be something that manages to reach a whole new audience. Speaking past the choir here.

Here's to hoping that it goes viral. Spread the word!



Awesome video. I will try & spread it far & wide.

It’s a pity however, that there are deniers like those that populate this blog & the blogosphere at large that willfully deny AGW because of either their political leanings, their industry association of simply their gullibility & ease of being conned.

RalphNader, I’m yet to make up my mind on your position, but from experience, you are a conservative troll. I apologize if I am wrong, but time will tell as you reveal your leanings. Like the other troll names on this site “recyclenot” & “plantfood”.

From experience, no progressive blogger or commenter I have seen adopts the name of a high profile progressive such as RalphNader, Al Gore, George Soros etc. It’s usually deniers that take these sorts of names & it is generally to mock.

“I will say that Global warming believers seem to be awfully familiar with PR tactics”

So because progressives acknowledge the existence or PR & highlight some of the tools at their disposal, you shoot the messenger? What conservative group have you seen do such a thing?

“more so than science, makes you wonder.”

So why do so many deniers believe scientists worldwide are collaborating on a green agenda? 98% of the worlds scientists are not deniers & 100% of scientific institutions are not on the deniers side. Are you saying they are not practicing science, but PR?


Interesting video.

A generation ago smoking was advertised as harmless or even beneficial. 

Since then smoking has been thoroughly shown to be a completely useless and unhealthy product. In fact we have been inundated with official anti smoking messaging for 40 years and tobacco companies have had their advertising severely limited and have even had to advertise on their own packaging against their own product. 

Yet people still smoke including lots of young people who were never subjected to the smoking ads from the 50’s. 

Conclusion: a change to anti tobacco advertising has not killed off the most useless product of all time and so it follows that one of the most useful products of all time - fossil fuel - has nothing to fear. 

The only advertising fossil fuel companies need is a warm house and a full tank of gas. 

So, put yourself in the shoes of a guy who understands the climate science findings and realizes that further emissions of CO2 will change the climate.  Is there anything that can be done to mitigate this problem (technology investment, etc)?  Are you saying that human nature will dictate that we will continue to use fossil fuels regardless of the science?