Birtherism, Fake News, Trumpism, Putinism: All Vital Parts of Climate Denial
January 30, 2017
Important to remember, as we wonder whether the World’s greatest Democracy will survive, is that all of this, All. of. This. – the denial of fact, fake news, the support for far right hatred, racism – all of this has been part and parcel of the climate denial movement from day one.
In July 1988, on page 11 of Sports Illustrated magazine, one story caught the eye of Fred Palmer.
“We have only ourselves to blame for this midsummer’s nightmare. Burning fossil fuels has created many of these environmental ills,” the story read.
Palmer was worried. As the boss of Western Fuels Association (WFA), a co-op of coal power generators and haulers, this self-confessed “prairie populist” could see the writing on the wall for his industry.
“There was a nationwide heatwave, and I remember it specifically because it ruined a vacation I was going to have on the eastern shore at Chesapeake Bay. The well waters all went dry,” he said.
If governments started to get serious about acting on climate change, then coal plants would be the first in line at the chopping block.
Just a few weeks earlier, Palmer had watched NASA climate scientist James Hansen deliver what was to become historic testimony before the U.S. Senate.
“The greenhouse effect has been detected and it is changing our climate now,” said Hansen, in a speech that pushed the science of climate change into the public consciousness.
Now, even Sports Illustrated was delivering clear-eyed assessments on the science.
At the same time, America’s iconic Yellowstone National Park was on fire, in what would become the park’s worst recorded episode of wildfires.
“At the time I don’t think people really understood the import of it. But I did understand the import of it. I engaged immediately,” Palmer told DeSmog.
And engage he did, helping to form one of the very first fossil fuel–funded campaigns that would directly target the science of climate change in order to influence the public’s understanding.
For more than 25 years, Palmer worked on government relations in the coal industry — first for Western Fuels Association and then Peabody Energy — before joining climate science denial group the Heartland Institute just a few weeks ago.
Now that long-running and relentless campaign of fossil fuel–funded misinformation which Palmer helped to kick-start has reached its zenith with the election of Donald Trump.
“For the first time in 25 years, CO2 greenhouse gas emissions are not the driving consideration in energy development in the United States,” said Palmer.
“That’s a transformational development and it took a Donald Trump to become president of the United States to put that on the table. I say God bless him.”
Below, longer report from the Heartland Climate denial Conference of 2012. It’s all there. Fake news, birtherism, fascism. The dark heart of science denial.
My post from June 8 of last year was clear enough.
Sometimes the universe keeps making things crystal clear. Like a warming planet, and exactly who the people are that continue to deny it.
While tying themselves into knots to support Donald Trump’s aggressively racist campaign, Republicans continue to demonstrate what I’ve been noting for years. Racism and climate denial are joined at the hip.
There could be no clearer demonstration of this than Climate Denier and racist Donald Trump’s current campaign. Mr Trump has managed to convincingly bring White Supremacists, Neo Nazis, homophobes, misogynists and anti-science zealots all happily together in the same big tent. We can at least thank him for making the associations so vivid.
New poll from Gallup makes the divide even clearer. It’s not an accident. The organizations funded by Exxon and others set out 30 years ago to make climate science another hot button in the culture war that began with the Voting Rights Act some 60 years ago.
Climate change is the most divisive issue among United States voters’ rankings of policy areas by importance, a new survey found.
The Gallup poll found that 72 percent of Democrats think climate change is a very important or extremely important in how they will vote in this year’s elections, compared with 25 percent of Republicans and 44 percent of independent voters.
The 47-point spread between Democrats and Republicans was the highest of any issues for which Gallup polled.
“Real” journalists are well trained to ignore this particular gorilla, but I’ve made the point many times that there is a large cross over between climate deniers and racists. One thing we can thank Donald Trump for is making that very, very, clear.
I report. You decide:
Case in point: The well known Climate denier who calls himself “Steven Goddard”, and proudly flies a Confederate symbol on his anti-science blog, is a rabid Trump supporter.