How did climate change become a hoax?
Dear Prof. Chomsky,
I remember enjoying a summer afternoon with family and friends, sitting under a large pine tree for shade. This particular tree could be beyond the century mark, judging from its size and character. The conversation occasionally would switch for family events to the incredibly hot month we are having, as expected when the temperature is constantly above one hundred degrees. “July was the hottest month in Texas’ recorded history” said a family friend. “And nobody believes in climate change” I replied, trying to read the popular opinion of the backyard.
The poll results were a bit disturbing, it seems a majority of the populous shading themselves from the afternoon sun, believe that man-made climate change is a hoax. One doubter argued, “The average temperature of the globe is higher than it is today.”
The media and politicians plant the seeds of doubt. Our current Governor and candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, Rick Perry said, “Almost weekly or even daily, scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change.” This is contrary to a 2010 study by the National Academy of Sciences, which surveyed 1,372 climate researchers, suggest growing acceptance, with as many as 98 percent believing in the concept of man-made climate change.
President Obama’s policies seem to show little concern for the issue. His administration recently overruled the Environmental Protection Agency proposed regulation to reduce ground-level ozone and are showing support for Cap-and-Trade, which allows heavy polluters to buy carbon credits from more responsible companies, essentially creating a market from clean air.
I know you regard environmental destruction as one of the greatest threats to species survival in any tolerable sense. How did climate change become a hoax?
P.s. Last weekend it finally rained. Texas just endured its driest seven-month span on record and a large part of state is burning. Friday, Texas Forest Service responded to eight new fires for 322 acres and in the past seven days responding to 60 fires for 11,058 acres. Fortunately there are no fires near my house, although I live in one of the 250 of the 254 Texas counties reporting burn bans.
“There is a very small group of serious scientists who are skeptical about global warming. Major sectors of business have been entirely open about the fact that they are running propaganda campaigns to convince the public that it is a hoax.
The problem is institutional, not individual. As for the public, many are genuinely confused. That is not surprising when the media present a “debate” between two sides — virtually all scientists versus a scattering of skeptics — while incidentally ignoring almost entirely a much more serious array of skeptics within the scientific world, namely those who believe that the general scientific consensus is much too optimistic. There are doubtless other reasons too. Taking the problem as seriously as we should leads to difficult choices and actions. It is easier to transfer the problems somewhere else, in this case to the world’s poor and to our grandchildren.” – Noam Chomsky
Books by Prof. Noam Chomsky
The Essential Chomsky (New Press Essential) by Noam Chomsky
Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky
Books by other authors
Why We Disagree About Climate Change: Understanding Controversy, Inaction and Opportunity by Mike Hulme
The Climate Crisis: An Introductory Guide to Climate Change by David Archer