Tuesday, October 20, 2009

CIimate Cover-Up - new book exposes Big Oil and corporate cover-up to avoid action against climate change

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours / The Tyee Column

Big Oil's Big Buy: Climate Change Denial

Tuesday October 20, 2009

By Bill Tieleman

Victory will be achieved when… media “understands” (recognizes) uncertainties in climate science [and] media coverage reflects balance on climate science and recognition of the validity of viewpoints that challenge the current “conventional wisdom”.

- American Petroleum Institute

Imagine you have a product that will in the long-term prove fatal or at least terribly damaging to everyone who uses it

You want to keep making the obscene profits associated with its sale but worry that when people learn how devastating it is, you’ll be out of business.

Solution: spew out more contradictory information than a squid squirts ink while under attack and count on a befuddled, underfunded media to help sow confusion.

But how to sucker the media?

Ah yes, w
rite big cheques to “astroturf” organizations and “scientific experts” to question the conclusions of most scientists while hiding the corporate funding and connections as deep as possible.

Sound implausible?

It worked for Big Tobacco for years – and now Big Oil and other business sectors who don’t want tough action on climate change are doing the same thing.

James Hoggan’s new book
Climate Cover-Up [Greystone Books] is a must-read for anyone concerned about the biggest, most pervasive effort ever at manipulating the media by some of the world’s largest and most powerful corporations.

Why, I’d even recommend it highly to my
24 hours colleague Alex Tsakumis, who has ripped Hoggan and CKNW AM 980 radio host Bill Good for two weeks straight about the issue for allegedly not providing “balance” on climate change.

[Disclosure – Hoggan and Good are friends of mine and I appear on Bill’s show every Monday – but Alex is a friend too.]

Let’s leave aside the science on climate change because Hoggan’s book - and website DeSmogBlog.com - is really about how a vast conspiracy has been undertaken by corporations opposed to reducing greenhouse gases and pollution to convince the media and public that everything is just fine.

Hoggan’s book - and website DeSmogBlog.com - are really about how a vast conspiracy has been undertaken by the corporations most directly affected by any attempt to reduce greenhouse gases and pollution to influence the media and public that everything is just fine.

Hoggan and co-author Richard Littlemore provide reams of evidence from around the world about the conspiracy – and it is not an understatement to call it that – that provided tens of millions of dollars to shadowy organizations to fight climate change regulations.

For example, the Competitive Enterprise Institute twice sued the U.S. government trying to block release of its
National Assessment of Climate Change.

Who got $2 million in funding from Exxon? Why, the CEI, which also got money for its climate change activities from – wait for it – Ford and General Motors.

CEI actually produced TV commercials celebrating burning fossil fuels and producing carbon dioxide actually titled: “They call it pollution, we call it life”!

And Exxon spent over $20 million since 1998 fighting climate change with “balance”.

But the cover-up strategy Hoggan reveals is sadly still working.

In Sunday’s
Province newspaper was an angry op-ed by retired professor Timothy Ball – a front man for an astroturf group called “Friends of Science” about teachers “indoctrinating” students about climate change, not giving “balance”.

Ball recently spoke to a luncheon in Calgary for Friends of Science – a group which also brought
Viscount Christopher Monckton of Brenchley from England to Vancouver earlier this month to explain why climate change is a hoax.

Speaking at the right-wing Fraser Institute think tank with a presentation titled: “
Apocalypse Cancelled; The Overheated Hype behind Global Warming,”
Monckton outlined who is behind the wrong-headed efforts to fight climate change and why:

"The Left have never liked democracy. They hate democracy," Monckton explained. "Every time they get the chance, they destroy it. They hate the West. They hate our prosperity. They hate our freedom."

Ironically given Ball’s appearance, it was
Province columnist Ethan Baron
who reported that Monckton says unsound climate change science threatens to send us
"back to caves without even the right to light a fire."

But Baron wryly asked why an apparently intelligent person would question the consensus of all but a few climate scientists and, having heard Monckton speak, concluded the reason was: “
Whacked-out, far-right ideology, combined with an ego the size of the Antarctic ice sheet.”

Fortunately there’s a ready and verifiable antidote to corporate spin doctors who want you to be confused about climate change – pick up a copy of Hoggan and Littlemore’s
Climate Cover-Up and check the facts for yourself about who’s behind fighting common sense for corporate profits – it’s undeniable.

* * * * *

Please join me and authors Caroline Adderson, Carellin Brooks, David Chariandy, Larissa Lai, Stan Persky and moderator Dan Gawthrop at Vancouver Public Library Thursday October 22 at 7:30 p.m. for “Public Libraries – Keep Them Local” – an event supporting adequate funding.


RossK said...

While I do not disagree with Mr. Hoggan's overall thesis, I think that Mr. Tsukamis is providing an important public service here by pointing out the inherent dangers to any and all who are willing to swallow the double-edged sword otherwise known as Public Relations.

Especially when they are willing to swallow it whole.


Grant G said...

James Hoggan selling books...Hmmm...No lucrative advertising contracts from the province? Like the one he had to promote the sea to sky highway.

Anyone who donates large sums of money to Gordon Campbell`s Liberal party,and shit on the NDP last election and promoted Campbell`s carbon tax but was deafly silent on all other issues like Fish farms/coal bed methane,coal exports,gateway,burns bog....

IMO...James Hoggan is out for James Hoggan....Show me the money!

You might want to read this Bill T


or Google up...James Hoggan`s lucrative contracts with BC Liberals

Consider the source...And really Bill, a book to tell us that big oil tries to confuse the issue...Holy guacamolly batman,who woulda thunk that...Sheesh

Cheers-Eyes Wide Open

Louis Kiesberg said...

Good stuff, Bill. I think this is an important book, and frankly, I don't care who authors it, as long as the message gets out.

Al Gore took a lot of heat (no pun intended) for his efforts to get climate change on the agenda. A lot of my lefty friends complained he was a hypocrite because he flew around in jets to deliver his slide show, and had a big, expensive house with lots of electric lights, blah blah blah. My response is always, "ya, so what? Does any of that diminish his important message?" Of course not.

Same with a guy like Hoggan. He's bound to raise the feathers of some on the left.

One argument could be made that as one of the better, experienced PR practitioners out there, he knows devious spin and its inner workings as well as anyone, so who better to write about this important topic?

I say bravo to Hoggan and co-author.

And Grant, I wouldn't be so ho-hum about the seemingly obviousness of big oil's devious use of PR to spin its lies. We knew for decades that big tobacco used such deception, but it was only after their lies were clearly exposed and documented many times over that change took place. Hoggan's book is an important part of the work that needs to be done to expose big oil's dirty tricks.

Rod Smelser said...

That Hoggan and Littlemore and Grandia are federal and provincial Liberals doesn't bother me. But what DOES bother me is their totally selective editorializing on the issue of carbon taxes.

They claim to be supporters of carbon taxes, and to be suspicious of anyone who isn't. Accordingly, they have joined with such distinguished academics as Andrew Weaver, John Robinson, Mark Jaccard and Nancy Olewiler in condemning the NDP as "dishonest" for not supporting either Stephane Dion's Green Shift or Premier Gordon M. Campbell's gas tax. They have said this repeatedly on DeSmogBlog.com.

But what about Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff? He too has rejected carbon taxes and buried his predecessor's Green Shift in a manner so complete as to be just short of a Soviet policy revision. But neither Littlemore or Grandia or Hoggan has condemned Ignatieff as a climate change denier.

To me it demonstrates that for these men climate change takes a back seat to party politics. Nothing new in that, but it does to my mind put the lie to their yahoo screeds directed at Carole James and Jack Layton.