Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Are Global Warming Skeptics Just Shills for Big Oil?

Having read a bit on the controversial issue of global warming, I have been bemused by the frequent charge hurled by global warming alarmists that the "deniers" (that odious propaganda term) or "skeptics" (a more descriptive term) are just shills for "big oil." The implication is that anyone who disagrees with the party line is either stupid or corrupt.

(By the way, I refuse to call it "climate change" because climate change is (a) a constant feature of life on planet earth and (b) not a problem. Re-branding "global warming as "climate change" is a way of making their scare tactics not falsifiable and thus not refutable by the scientific method. If global warming is really a threat, then it is precisely global warming, not the amorphous "climate change" that is the problem.)

Donna Laframboise, a former print journalist and crusading blogger (There's No Frakking "Scientific Consensus" About Global Warming) puts this nonsensical charge in its proper context in a post entitled "Independent Bloggers versus Corporate Environmentalists". She writes:

"Another day, another smarmy accusation that people who are skeptical of climate change are being funded by a shadowy conspiracy connected in one manner or another to big oil, big coal, big tobacco or - horror of horrors - right-wing think tanks.

These accusations are tiresome. They're ugly. They're almost entirely unsubstantiated. Most of all, they're a waste of time. They amount to shooting the messenger rather than addressing the bleeping message.

So why do they keep getting repeated? I think I've sorted out two reasons. First: the lavishly-funded corporate nature of the environmental movement circa 2010. Second: modern technological wonders such as personal computers and the Internet.

Environmental organizations today bear little resemblance to the shoestring operations of yesteryear. As a book published 14 years ago observed:
While Greenpeace used to be a pair of bell-bottomed blue jeans, today it is more like a three-piece pinstripe suit.
Indeed. In 1971, Greenpeace was an "upstart peace group from Vancouver" that held meetings in a Unitarian church. After it chartered a 30-year-old "creaking fish boat" to protest a US nuclear arms test, it could barely afford to pay for the boat's fuel.

Last month, however, when The Guardian reported that Greenpeace had commissioned a brand new £14 million ($22 million US) mega-yacht, it observed that "cost should not be a problem for the group, which, with nearly three million supporters, is extremely wealthy."

How wealthy? According to publicly-available figures compiled by, over a 12-year period Greenpeace raised $2.4 billion. That works out to $200 million a year in resources.

If you think that's impressive, take a moment to ponder the fact that the World Wildlife Fund raised $3.1 billion in just six years (2003-2008). Which means that that organization has ready access to half a billion dollars annually.

When you're that big – and that loaded – suddenly everything costs a small fortune. Want to start a new blog? That'll require a series of meetings. You'll need to invite web design folks, IT folks, a contingent of in-house PR people, an ad agency person or two, a corporate strategy person, and probably someone from legal. You'll meet in shiny offices in a fashionable part of town and order-in sandwiches from the pricey, organic, fair-trade cafĂ© at the end of the street.

Compare and contrast to how independent individuals of utterly modest means from all over the world currently behave. They sign up to a service like (which is owned by Google) and, within a few hours at most, for no cost whatsoever, have launched themselves as a blogger. Alternatively, for well under $10 in hosting fees a month, they can publish their own website.

For no money, therefore, climate skeptics in the early 21st century are in a position to theoretically communicate online with as many people as is Greenpeace. From their basements and their attics, in often non-trendy geographical locations, it isn't their funding that matters - it's their skill sets."
Read the rest here.

When you consider that global warming alarmists like Rajendra Pachauri and Al Gore own shares in and do consulting for companies that stand to make billions of dollars in new "green technologies" - none of which are financially feasible without billions in government subsidies - you realize that corporate interests are involved in this debate, but not on the side of the skeptics.

As is typical of leftists everywhere, they accuse their opponents of things of which they themselves are guilty. The moral of the story is that "Yes, corporate interests are skewing the debate, but not in the direction of the skeptics, but rather in the direction of the alarmists.

No comments: