The Dog’s Bollocks

Truth is like a dog’s bollocks – pretty obvious if you care to look.

The Denial Machine – abridged version

The Denial Machine, on Four Corners last night, tells the now-familiar story of how fossil fuel corporations have kept the global warming debate alive long after most scientists believed that global warming was real and had potentially catastrophic consequences. But it’s worth watching (tonight, 11.35 pm, ABC TV) for the twist in the tale and the appearance of Karl Lunz.

The program begins with the story of APCO Worldwide (pushing the boundaries of communication and succeeding in ways you didn’t think possible…) and the activities of a group of scientists consulting for Big Tobacco. Big Tobacco had concluded that the science linking smoking with lung cancer would eventually prevail, but with a concerted PR campaign with sympathetic scientists on the payroll, they endeavoured to delay the inevitable profit-killing legislation. The strategy was to cast doubt on the consensus among the scientists. As long as there was doubt, business could go on as usual. A decade or two later, and the whole operation has been thoroughly exposed for the sham it was. Nevertheless, it became a model for corporations seeking to delay the impact of science and legislation on their business operations.

Fast forward to global warming, Luntz’s ‘climate change’, and the Bush administration’s retreat from promised reduction of CO2 emissions. The documentary shows that companies such as Exxon Mobil are working with top public relations firms and using many of the same tactics as those employed by Phillip Morris and RJ Reynolds to dispute the cigarette-cancer link in the 1990s. Exxon Mobil sought out those willing to question the science behind climate change, providing funding for some of them, their organizations and their studies. The Denial Machine also explores how the arguments supported by oil companies were adopted by policy makers in both Canada and the U.S. and helped form government policy.

Ok, so it worked before with tobacco, so you can’t really blame them for trying it on with global warming. You’d think that they’d do it more surrepticiously, but no! Exxon employed the same agency, APCO, and some of the same discredited scientists. You’d have to wonder how smart some of these corporate people are.

And to top it all off, Karl Luntz, is now a self-professed and avowed global warming believer! No wonder satire is dying art. Reality beats it every time.

Luntz himself concludes the program with these pertinent observations:

“Conservatives need to make much greater effort to talk about what’s happening in the environment, and Liberals should acknowledge the serious economic consequences of Kyoto,” Luntz said. He continued, “If you really care about global warming, take it out of the political sphere, don’t beat each other over the head, be honest, don’t yell, and focus on solutions that make a difference. Not everything in life is about politics”.

Luke has posted about The Denial Machine at Jennifer Marohasey. You can read her rebuttal and those of her fellow travelers there.

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Filed under: Economics, Environment, Media, Politics, Science

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The Dog’s Bollocks

What they say

The Dog's Bollocks: "Bollocks" is one of my favourite words, and this is now one of my favourite blogs and I've only been reading it for five minutes. – John Surname

This is the person who tried to analyse Hayek. This is actually a person who needs a shrink. – JC

Shut up slim. You’re an idiot.
Just you stay honest and keep that thinking cap on. – GMB

Insightful perspectives on politics and discussion of matters epistemological? I’m sold! - Bruce

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