3.2 HARBINGERS of DENIAL (…and it ain’t some River in Africa!)
The almost Planet wide Honeymoon of acceptance of these Good New Days during the 1980’s really didn’t last long enough. They just couldn’t make the marriage work. It lasted about eight to ten years at best and become aggressively argumentative. Some really good stuff happened. Governments around the World with the UN were getting on board setting up World Councils with real meaning like IPCC ( Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) in 1988, signing Wholesome Climate based Accords and Treaties like the UN backed Kyoto Protocol in 1997. It set CO2 emissions reduction of 5.2%. It took almost 8 years to get running, but by 2012 the 141 Member Nations including China but excluding USA who left before it was finally started in 2005, managed to reduce CO2 emissions by a whopping 20%! This was well above the 5.2% target. Fantastic effort by all. The USA leaving the Kyoto Protocol before it really started was a sure sign that all was not rosy in the Global Warming debate.
A big Success in reducing Global emissions? No. Global CO2 emissions went up by almost 40% over the same period with more heating to atmosphere.
Emissions ramped up from developing nations with exploding population growth and conversion to modern Industrial methods. Their fresh modern Industry was being built from now “Carbon” ‘redundant’ Production line from Western Industry. These developing Countries with cheap power, water, labour and Parliaments that did not discuss environment, were a perfect opportunity for exploitation. Developed Nations Front Door of Industry looked quite Shiny and Bright with lovely PR. Meanwhile, out the Backdoor they went to other Wordly parts to reprise to some extent the “Bad Old Days“. ( “out the backdoor they went” had me humming along to George Thorogood’s version of House Rent Boogie – “and out the door I went”…. He does a fine job!)
Industry had crunched the numbers. They realised quickly that cost of compliance to new ‘Happy Planet’ Regulations was going to be bad for all sorts of stuff, especially profit. Many of these most powerful plainly did not appreciate those ‘Lefty’ Scientists and their ‘Motly’ supporters having impacts on Government and continuing to embarrass Industry. Many of the traditional Conservative overlords of Government did not appreciate these ‘Hippy’ upstarts either. Grumblings increased and Teak lined room discussions ensued.
Formalised in 1989, the “Global Climate Coalition”(GCC) got to work. Title reads all Climate Warm and Fuzzy! It was not. With the IPCC starting to gather steam, the Bad Old Days Crew in Industry had desperate need to diminish this hype of Global Warming. Names represented included DuPont, Ford, General Electric, General Motors, BP and Shell. Old lobbying connections were freshened up and the Denier debate thinly disguised as Skeptical Science commenced in earnest.
In the face of now overwhelming validation of much of the Climate Modelling of the past 20 years, GCC used Science to challenge back in an effort to make us believe that these rising Co2 atmospheric gases were just part of our normal Climate cycle and that if we were heating up, it was at a much slower rate than the Doomsdayer Scientists claimed. Some of the Science that came out was good. Some resulted in adjustments to established models and hypothesis, but seriously just not enough to make significant difference. Some was not good Science. A tiny fragment of Climate Warming trend would be taken and interpreted differently than the now established Science. When looked at with other inputs in creating a heating outcome, these interpretations are just Mouse prints in Time with little to no impact on the overall heating curve of Truth! They were and still are experts at using information out of context with fragments of Climate Science to justify their claim that Human induced Global warming is Fake.
The Bad Old Days Mantra was scrubbed off and given a makeover. “Nothing to be alarmed about” they repeated time and time again. They also spread the story that those now apparently nasty ill-bred leftie and anarchist Environmentalists were bent on controlling the World through Environmental legislation, will then take your Properties and make everything a National Park! Maybe, maybe not. GCC used any and all resource they had to rile up up all the ‘Right’ thinking, morally upstanding Libertarians and other Right Conservative groups to join a fray which was rapidly approaching War. In the USA Conservative think tanks exploded. 1984 – Heartland Institute, 1988 George C Marshall Institute, 1993- The Advancement of Sound Science Centre (TASSC), 1993- National Environmental Policy Institute (NEPI). They ramped up their PR ‘Sceptic Science’ rhetoric backed by Big Bucks funding from Oil and Tobacco Industries. Heartland and NEPI initially operated on Tobacco Company funding to counter attack anti-smoking Science. They moved onto bigger ‘greener’ pastures with Climate Science Scepticsm bordering on Denial. They worked hard to de-bunk established Climate Science. Heartland Institute led the way in developing Denial activism.
GCC and others labelled the Sciences associated with Global Warming as Junk Science. With their money laden resources they went on full frontal attacks not just against the established Science but also the Scientists themselves. World renowned Environmental Health expert David Platt Rall passed away in 1999. Steven J Milloy who coined the term Junk Science and is current head of TASSC, stated publicly at the time – “scratch one Junk Scientist”. Yes, it got personal! Most of these attacks commenced in the USA, continued to the floor of Congress and did manage to influence certain Presidents to back down on upgraded Environmental legislation.
There was no letting up by the Conservative Industry dominated right, associated Institutes and supporters clubs of ‘right thinking decent’ people. Global Warming denial thinly veiled as being just skeptical science really impacted the growth of Environmental protection measures with the consequence of polarising Community attitudes and beliefs. Black started becoming white and white became black. It did not matter that their counter ‘Science’ being pushed to discredit Global Warming had so many holes that you could drive a Bus through. Quantity, not quality was the way – do the classic Advertising of concerted and saturated scatter gun promotion and the truth does not matter anymore. Throw in outlandish claims that these new generation Scientists and their supporters will reduce a persons right to freedoms and you have a potent cocktail for a fake fact vengeful War.
Green supporters and associated Scientists were really blindsided by the ferocity of attacks. Not since the dark ages had truthful Science been so set upon with such vigour. In frustration, Green Party delegates to European Parliament in 1998 proposed that the World Meteorological Organisation name Hurricanes after GCC members! They failed, but their sentiment reflected the concerns of many that the now established Climate Science was being hijacked by the powerful for their own ends and to the detriment of dealing with rapidly changing and future damaging Climate. Would the 2000’s see a shift in the rhetoric and a change of mindset by Industry and Government Conservatives towards acceptance of Global Warming and start preparing for our crazy Climate future? Maybe, maybe not.
Were both sides of the debate becoming Zealots? Coming soon…..