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The Road to Copenhagen: Climate Change and Climate Deniers

November 4, 2009

We are one month away from the international climate change conference that will be taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark. While there have been numerous meetings since Kyoto in 1997, Copenhagen is the main follow-up to what global standards were put in place with the Kyoto Protocol.

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We will be following the news coverage leading up to and during Copenhagen, but we also felt it was important to post several stories about different aspects of climate change and climate justice. These articles will look at the current data, climate deniers, what the US government is doing legislatively and an analysis of what local groups are doing to address or not address climate change.

Climate Deniers

Part of the struggle for climate justice and the fact that there are numerous entities – think tanks and corporate front groups – which deny that global warming is even an issue. These groups are so aggressive with their anti-global warming message that many news stories still include the opinions of climate deniers.

In 2004, Fairness and Accuracy in reporting conducted a study on major US media reporting on global warming and found that “53 percent of the articles gave roughly equal attention to the views that humans contribute to global warming and that climate change is exclusively the result of natural fluctuations.

Since their 2004 study, FAIR also found that there are several national news pundits who also deny global warming, such as John Stossel (ABC), columnist George Will and Glenn Beck (CNN & FOX).

With Climate Deniers being legitimate news sources and some national media pundits denying global warming, no surprise that more and more people in the US are questioning the near-consensus in the scientific community that human actions are contributing to global warming.

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Two weeks ago the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press published the finding of a survey they conducted on the current trends amongst Americans on global warming. As the chart here shows there is a significant percentage of people who don’t believe global warming is an issue and the number of those who think that has risen since 2006.

In addition, there are organizations, which deny global warming, primarily because they represent business interests, which would be negatively impacted from policies that sought to curb human actions that contributed to global warming. One group, the Global Climate Coalition, which no longer exists, was made up of oil companies and other industries, which are arguably some of the biggest contributors to global warming.

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These front groups are numerous and tend to be funded by big oil companies like Exxon-Mobil. Exxon-Mobil has spent between $17 – 23 million dollars to fund groups that deny global warming, according to the research done by Exxpose Exxon. Exxon Mobil funded global warming deniers have even come to Grand Rapids. In 2007, Media Mouse reported that the local far-right think tank the Acton Institute brought a global warming denier speaker to town representing the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

This brief look into some of the forces behind climate change denial and how it impacts public perception should give us all concern for how this issue will be dealt with politically in the US and internationally at Copenhagen next month.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 27, 2010 10:39 am

    Me would like to put a link to your site on my site roll if you want to do da same for mine. It would be a good way to build up both of our readerships.
    Added you to da RSS reader
    Bye

Trackbacks

  1. Road to Copenhagen Part 3: US Climate Legislation & Lobbyists « Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy
  2. Indy News Coverage of the International Climate Summit « Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy

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