Letter to Editor: Complicity in climate denial

To the Editor:

The letter “Climate disagreement” in the May 23 edition disagrees with every scientific body of national or international standing and with every climate scientist, worldwide, publishing in peer-reviewed journals.

It is filled with misinformation produced as part of a sophisticated, decades-long, clandestine climate denial campaign funded to the tune of $2 billion by this country’s biggest fossil fuel corporations (see Scientific American, “Dark Money” and “How to Win Friends and Bamboozle People About Climate Change,” The Union of Concerned Scientists’ website, “Climate Deception Dossiers,” and greenpeace.org.)

Climate change denial is a corporate scam, modeled directly on Big Tobacco’s campaign to deny that smoking causes lung cancer, which paid denier-for-hire “doctors” to dupe the public. The fossil fuel corporations now do the same, paying denier-for-hire “scientists,” even using the same corrupt outfit, “The Heartland Institute,” to launder the money.

Incredibly, some of Heartland’s same “scientists” switched directly from cancer denial to climate denial. Every professional climate denier is paid under the table by the fossil fuel industry. See the documentation at the award-winning website desmogblog.org.

Heartland’s “scientists” have concocted dozens of climate denial talking points, a number of them appearing in the “Climate disagreement” letter. To someone without a scientific background, they can be quite persuasive. You can go to skepticalscience.org, a website run by volunteer climate scientists, which is endorsed by the American Institute of Physics, to see the peer-reviewed data that disproves every one of them.

The “Climate disagreement” letter provides virtually no sources, just personal opinion. Science doesn’t care what you believe. Science requires hard evidence, particularly in the hard sciences. The world scientific community (IPCC) has that evidence and it’s 100 percent endorsed by the National Academy of Sciences. There is no higher scientific authority.

The best known figure on scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming (AGW), 97 percent, was published by the National Academy of Sciences website many years ago, but the latest study shows there it is now over 99.9999 percent consensus (National Physical Sciences Consortium).

There is literally no debate about AGW within the world of science. It does not exist anywhere except in US right-wing media and the GOP, which has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the fossil fuel industry (see opensecrets.org).

Meanwhile, the climate change which “Climate disagreement” denies has cost Americans over $1 trillion in climate disasters (NOAA/NASA) and, as global temperatures continue to rise nearly every year, a half-degree increase will cost us $13 trillion. We simply can’t afford climate denial any more. And the Islander is continuing to perpetuate this dangerous lie by printing letters like “Climate denial.”

The most rudimentary fact-checking would show that “Climate disagreement” was untruthful. This is not a matter of free speech. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. This is a life and death matter. I doubt that you would print letters from anti-vaxxers. Global warming is a much more deadly threat.

The worldwide scientific community, the Pentagon, the CEOs of our country’s biggest companies (ETO), and every other country recognizes the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent by 2030 if we want to have any shot at averting “catastrophic” global warming (IPCC).

The world’s most highly-cited peer reviewed science journal, Nature, says “global warming is posing such wide-ranging risks to humanity, involving so many types of phenomena, that by the end of this century that parts of the world could face as many as six climate-related crises at the same time … including extreme heat waves, wildfires, sea level rise, hurricanes, flooding, drought and shortages of clean water.”

We won’t be able to reverse this. Once we stop burning fossil fuels, we’ll be stuck with the climate disasters we’ve created for millennia to come.

Do you really want to be complicit in a venal and corrupt campaign to further climate denial, which, if it succeeds, will result in the deaths of hundreds of millions (WHO), by continuing to publish letters that encourage others to believe the climate change we are beginning to experience is not manmade?

Lynn Goldfarb

Lancaster, Penn.

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