Monbiot, TASSC and the tobacco, climate change cover-up

UK journalist and author George Monbiot has been doing a great job of getting the climate change message out with the release of his new book and subsequent media tour. In his book, Heat, Mobiot uncovers evidence that The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC), a front group for the tobacco industry, made a concerted effort to include other issues in its materials in order to cover-up the fact that it was just an apologist for big tobacco. Here is a recent National Public Radio interview with Monbiot.

And here is one of the documents Monbiot is referring to in his book. It is a 1994 APCO Worldwide memo to a Manager at Philip Morris Europe, titled “Thoughts on TASSC Europe,” in which APCO proposes:

“When considering the formation of a TASSC-like group in Europe, we think it is important to begin where we started in the United States by identifying some key objectives. Specifically we recommend TASSC be formulated to … link the tobacco issue with more 'politcally correct' products.”

“As a starting point we can identify key issues requiring sound scientific research and scientists that may have an interest in them. Some issues our European collleagues suggest include: global warming, nuclear waste disposal … the diversity of these issues, and their tremendous impact on business and industry, provides an excellent 'tie-in' to the work TASSC is currently undertaking in the United States.”

There has been rumour and debate over claims that Al Gore recently stated that cigarette smoking contributes to global warming. Whether that is true or not we'll leave to the scientists, but Monbiot and this APCO memo definitely point out that cigarettes via their industry front groups, have definitely played a role in confusing the public on the realities and the urgency of climate change.


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