Envirotruth or Envirodare

The grandly named EnviroTruth web site has section that purports to debunk "myths" about climate change. The "myths" include the usual false claims such as satellite measurements don't show warming, but "myth" number 11 is pretty funny.

Here's "myth" 11:

Those Who Question Whether Human Activity Contributes in Any Significant Fashion to Climate Change are Secretly Funded by Coal, Oil, Gas and Other "Smokestack" Industries.'

Brandon MacGillis of Ozone Action, a Washington DC-based public interest group, refers to global warming doubters as "part of a handful of skeptics, mostly coal producers and users, who are still trying to debate the scientific certainty of this threat." David Suzuki, an influential Canadian environmentalist, makes a similar claim and refers to those who oppose his views on this topic as "anti-environmentalists."

Here's their debunking:

Despite the condemnations of radical environmentalists, it is a safe bet to conclude that scientists who express skepticism about the likelihood of an imminent, human-caused climate change catastrophe act independently of their funding sources - in other words, they aren't motivated by money. With all scientists competing for very limited funding resources, and due to the strong media and government interest in this area, it has become an attractive selling point for scientists to be able to associate their research in some way with global warming. As a consequence, reference to global warming tends to be made whenever possible, often for projects that are often only distantly related to that line of research. Global warming skeptics are unable to make this association and, thus, have no covert incentive to oppose the alarmists. More to the point, the vast majority would receive more funding if they did endorse the more politically-correct global warming theory.

I hope you were paying attention there. Did you notice that they never got around to actually saying that the alleged myth was false? In fact they seem to have tacitly admitted that the sceptics are funded by carbon energy companies. Their assertion that these sceptics could get more money is also pretty silly. Scientists are funded to conduct research, not reach pre-defined conclusions. If the sceptics could do work that could meet the standards of the top journals, then they could get funding without taking money from energy companies.

So anyway, who funds Envirotruth? If you follow the links from their page you eventually get to this page, which states:

Our audited figures show that most -- 81.5% in 2002, 93% in 2001, 93% in 2000, 88% in 1999 and 80% in 1998 -- of The National Center's funding comes from small gifts from individuals. The remainder comes from foundation/non-profit grants (16% in 2002, 4.6% in 2001, 3% in 2000, 5% in 1999 and 11.6% in 1998), with additional income coming from corporate contributions (2.0% in 2002, 2.6% in 2001, 4% in 2000, 4% in 1999 and 8% in 1998), sales of publications and materials and interest income.

Cool, no mention of funding by energy companies.

However, if you check the always useful Disinfopedia you find that

In 2003 [ExxonMobil] boosted its general operating support to $25,000 with another $30,000 for "global climate change/EnviroTruth website"

Not only is Envirotruth specifically funded by an oil company, it's secretly funded by an oil company. That was some refutation.

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Censoring now are we Tim ?

By Louis Hissink (not verified) on 14 Oct 2004 #permalink

Louis, as we discussed before, you are only permitted to post one comment at a time. This is to encourage you to put your thoughts into one comment rather than clutter up my comments with a dozen comments at once. I will continue to delete any extra comments you make. And no, that's not censorship.

As I recall, Ross Gelbspan came up with hard evidence that at least some "greenhouse skeptics" were on the take from the fossil fuel industry, in the form of oil company documents describing the payments.

And it's not as if the "skeptics" have to turn to industry sources for money--in fact, some of them, like Lindzen, get funding from the same sources as do climate scientists who support the consensus on that issue.

We may have an opportunity here for a very rough honesty check.
Have a look at who the EnviroTruth site links to -- for example,
here,


here,


and here.

Note that EnviroTruth refers to David Suzuki, but does not actually link to his

web site.

Take a random sample of the language used at the EnviroTruth site, e.g.

Terrorists with Tofu Breath
They are bomb-throwing Birkenstock brats.

Review the sites and authorities on EnviroTruth's

links page.

Do all of the above for

David Suzuki's site,

especially his

links page.

Now ask:

Who links to a broader cross-section of opinion?

Whose authorities seem more authoritative?

Who seems to be motivated by ideology, and who seems to be interested in the truth?

Who has shed more light on the subject, and who has generated more heat?

Tim,

I only posted one comment, but maybe network conjestion might have duplicated ONE post? For reasons most of us cope with.

By Louis Hissink (not verified) on 15 Oct 2004 #permalink

As for Greenhouse scepticism, some of you might try talking to us in the mining exploration game - we know of volcanics in North Queensland that have hydrocarbons in them, or basically solified greenhouse gases, but then, when it comes green house experience means naught, but armchair pontification aught.

By Louis Hissink (not verified) on 15 Oct 2004 #permalink

I have no doubt that posters on this board are aware of the ExxonSecrets web site, however their research on Envirotruth is here:
Vested Interest . com (with apologies to Dano).

If you note the contributions, Exxon has been giving for the last while with a contribution to the parent NCPPR in 2001 of 15,000 to support climate change (presumably they are in favor if it).

I like this quote from their president "It's just that you're competing with a lot of other organizations. People seem to respond better to emotion than they do with letters that have lots and lots of facts." Seems to explain their website!

Louis, the question of how best to respond to global warming is separate to the question of whdther global warming is real. You appear to be confusing the two. No-one reputable disputes that its technically possible to store carbon dioxide underground. However msot of the current evidence suggests that to do so will be significantly more expensive than other alternatives such as using more natural gas rather than coal in energy production and replacing older coal-fired power-plants with more efficient integrated-cycle coal plants. The Australia Institute released a report on this recently. http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/09/28/1096137231989.html?oneclic…

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 16 Oct 2004 #permalink

Mark, Danish television also documented a link between energi/fossil-fuel companies and the "greeehouse sceptics"

By Kristjan Wager (not verified) on 19 Oct 2004 #permalink

The earth might be warming. To infer that mere humans, occuping a skin on that earth, could affect it's thermal balance is nothing more than assuming that a flea was capable of making an elephant turn inside-out.

By Louis Hissink (not verified) on 21 Oct 2004 #permalink

So you deny that humans are response for a 50% increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide?

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 22 Oct 2004 #permalink

For a sceptic who talks about facts and numbers.

Have you worked out what 25k of 6 million is ? (the audited figures mentioned are 02 so oranges with oranges).

If they say 80% plus are retail punters then pretty obviously there are a lot of people (broad based support) - who doubt the ENHANCED greenhouse effect.

Cheers