New Report Details History of Attacks on Climate Science
In advance of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report coming out this month, Greenpeace has released a new report, Dealing in Doubt: The Climate Denial Machine vs. Climate Science.
Dealing in Doubt presents a brief history of climate denial and attacks on climate science over the past two decades, focusing specifically on denier campaigns against the IPCC, including current efforts by the Heartland Institute, the funding of those campaigns and the wide range of tactics and tricks used by a small handful of deniers to undermine legitimate science.
“We can document a well funded climate denial machine that revved up in the early 1990s, fueled by millions of dollars from corporate polluters," said Greenpeace U.S. Research Director Kert Davies. "They are still fighting the science and still being funded."
"The lasting legacy of these corporations, front groups, organizations and individuals who have threatened scientists and attacked scientific institutions like the IPCC, is a delay in reaction time and solutions to the climate crisis," Davies concluded. "This means global warming will hit harder and cost more to fix.”
The IPCC Assessment Reports are considered the definitive assessments of global climate risk, and include the contributions of hundreds of scientists; at each release of a new assessment, the IPCC undergoes a wave of attacks from deniers. Despite the IPCC traditionally leaning towards a conservative assessment of the science, denier campaigns consistently paint the reports as exaggerations. Dealing in Doubt aims to serve as a primer on the history of those attacks, who’s behind them, who funds them and the dirty tricks deployed.
An update of the 2010 report of the same name, Dealing in Doubt includes:
- a history of IPCC report attacks from the first assessment report in 1990 to the present
- descriptions of the ongoing attempts to attack individual scientists and their work, including Michael Mann, Dr. Benjamin Santer, Dr. Kevin Trenberth and James Hansen
- tactics and tricks of deniers, including “pal” review instead of peer review, false credentials and fake scientific support
- a second look at the “Climategate” scandal, what really happened and the exoneration of the scientists at the heart of the story
- the global reach of the climate denial machine
- the “continental army”—the small group of spokespeople and strategists that have perpetuated these attacks over two decades
The report also includes a case study focusing on the Heartland Institute, which has started pushing its Non-Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) report, Climate Change Reconsidered due next week.
Dealing in Doubt shows how the NIPCC report differs from the crucial scientific updates provided by the IPCC—unlike the IPCC, the Heartland Institute, heavily funded by fossil fuel groups, had already reached its conclusions before starting out (i.e., climate change is a hoax) and only reviews papers written by deniers (the IPCC reviews all papers on the subject).
“The NIPCC reports are a clear attempt to muddle the science rather than provide clarity,” said Davies. “It’s unbelievable that anyone would take these attempts to confuse the media and the public seriously after seeing the history of lying and misinformation perpetuated by these authors, and the fossil fuel money behind them.”
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It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.
Keeping Schools Safe<p>What will safer schools look like?</p><p>In a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2766822" target="_blank">JAMA article</a> published last month, <a href="https://www.jhsph.edu/faculty/directory/profile/1781/joshua-m-sharfstein" target="_blank">Dr. Joshua Sharfstein</a>, a pediatrician and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, outlined suggestions — many of which are similar to AAP's.</p><p>Remote learning protocols must stay in place, especially as some schools stagger home and in-building learning. If another shutdown needs to occur, children will rely on distance learning completely, so it must be easy to switch to, he said.</p><p>He suggested giving parents a daily checklist to document their child's health. Kids should be screened quickly on arrival and be given hygiene supplies. Maintenance staff should use appropriate PPE and have regular cleaning schedules. A notification system should be in place if a case is identified, Sharfstein recommended.</p><p><a href="https://www.albany.edu/rockefeller/faculty/erika-martin" target="_blank">Erika Martin</a>, PhD, an associate professor of public administration and policy at University at Albany, said nutrition assistance and health services should be included. She called for tutoring programs with virtual options as well as technology access.</p>
Supporting Staff<p>Teachers and staff will be affected by safeguarding measures, noted <a href="https://directory.sph.umn.edu/bio/sph-a-z/rachel-widome" target="_blank">Rachel Widome</a>, PhD, an associate professor of epidemiology and community health at University of Minnesota.</p><p>"In order for all of the in-school precautions to work well, we'll be asking a lot of teachers and staff," Widome told Healthline. In addition to their usual workload, they'll now be asked to monitor mask-wearing, ensure children are keeping distance, and be aware of any symptoms.</p><p>Along with Sharfstein, Widome called for an increase in financial support. More employees will likely be required so teachers and staff members can keep up with the added demands.</p>
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