Tuesday, October 25, 2011

how corporate interests attack science

energyskeptic | I would read Oreskes’ “Merchants of Doubt. How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming” first for an overview of how commercial interests manipulate the political process to prevent regulation and receive outrageous amounts of public money.

Then I’d read this book to learn the specifics of the attack. This book also has an easy-to-understand explanation of the research that led them to their conclusions (about the hockey stick graph, made famous by Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth”), and why the attacks of other scientists were bogus and not published by good peer-reviewed journals.

The details of the right-wing attack on science in this book make you really feel the pain and suffering inflicted on scientists like Bradley. Fighting the attack takes up so much of their time they can’t continue to do research, no doubt another reason to go after them.

The main reason the “hockey stick” teams research was attacked was to reduce the credibility of the 2007 IPCC report.

It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry when politicians bought by special interests, such as Senator Inhofe, invite a science fiction writer to testify about climate change. Michal Crichton has a background in medicine, and as Bradley puts it “I really don’t follow the logic. If I had a medical problem, I wouldn’t want to be treated by a climatologist. So what possesses a doctor (an M.D., that is) to feel qualified to sound off about climate science is beyond me. As a fully paid-up climatologist of many years’ standing, I know there is an immense amount about climate science that I don’t know. The idea of weighing in on an entirely different field strikes me as presumptuous at best and foolish at worst”.

Yet Bradley falls prey to the same problem when he hopes that green technology will save us from burning fossil fuels – this simply isn’t a solution. The best books to understand why fossil fuels are not replaceable are Hayden’s “Solar Fraud. Why Solar Energy Won’t Run the World” and Trainer’s “Renewable Energy Cannot Sustain a Consumer Society”.

Some of the scary rate-of-change statistics in the book:
  • Climate hasn’t changed this much in at least the last 850,000 years
  • When we burn fossil fuels like coal and oil, we’re releasing carbon dioxide thousands of times faster than it took to form coal and oil deposits.
  • Carbon dioxide levels have risen 40% in just the past 250 years
  • Never have greenhouse gases tripled within a few centuries, and we’re destroying the plants that could help to sequester CO2.


ProfGeo said...

I haven't read any Rifkin for a whiiiile. Probably since The End of Work back in the '90s. But this interview makes the new book look interesting.


arnach said...

On the list of scientific denial for corporate benefit:

 - Tetraethyl Lead

 - Fluorocarbons and the Ozone Layer
(I wouldn't want to be Thomas Midgley, Jr., inventor  of both.  Ooops.  They seemed like good ideas at the time)

 - Big Tobacco

And on and on...