Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is a concept supported by only two legs, a so-called consensus of climate scientists claiming it is proven, and the idea that skeptic scientists aren't worth listening to. Almost any internet article or blog written by an AGW believer boils down to that. Skeptic scientists, and those citing their research, are yanking out the first leg. Few focus on the other leg, except perhaps to note the bias given by the mainstream media to the AGW side. This is understandable, I also overlooked the accusation about big coal & oil corrupting skeptic scientists.
We know skeptic scientists did their research, and were later paid speaking fees by coal & oil companies because the companies agreed with them. How simple is that to understand? However, skeptics let this unrelenting accusation go unquestioned for far too long. What we fail to see is the sheer extent of AGW believers repeating the opposite: anti-AGW science reports and opinions are all fabricated under the direction of coal & oil companies.
Last November, I inadvertently to stopped my usual routine of comparing skeptic vs AGW viewpoints, to look directly into the accusation. What I discovered caused me to write two American Thinker articles and a few blogs there and elsewhere about the accusation's huge problems. A person reading my most recent blog pointed out how hard it was to follow, though.
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Indeed, the explanation of this is greatly offset by the simplicity of the campaign behind the accusation. Its narrative has been so effectively pounded into practically every AGW believer that it can be regurgitated by the dumbest of believers in three points:
1. a scientific consensus says the debate is settled; Fact, end of story.
2. skeptic scientists corrupted by big coal & oil industries seek to 'reposition' the public into believing AGW is not a fact.
3. journalists don't have to give equal weight to skeptic scientists because of the previous two points; they're corrupt, and few in number.
That's it. You are not to question it, and the word "reposition" is the central-most part of it. But, when I did an internet search of the oft-repeated complete phrase, "reposition global warming as theory rather than fact", I didn't find simple explanations, I found unanswered contradictions. What follows below is the hazy picture of it all in chronological order, as it relates to my writings:
1.After Al Gore told us in the late '80s about the threat of global warming and its settled debate (contradicting widespread worries a decade earlier about global cooling), U.S. coal company associations created the Information Council on the Environment (ICE) public relations campaign in early 1991. The objective was to show how the debate was anything but settled, and one of their internal memos for campaign planners had as the #1 strategy this verbatim sentence: "reposition global warming as theory (not fact)." Better said, considering how the rest of the memo and other papers are worded, "Show how the man-caused global warming theory is contradicted by theories of natural variability". The sentence in context with the rest of the papers gives no indication it is a top-down directive from executives to skeptic scientists to voice fabricated science assessments.
2.By mid June 1991, these internal memos were leaked to at least the Sierra Club, and perhaps other environmentalist groups. NY Times reporter Matt Wald wrote an early July article about ICE, saying the Times had received copies of the ICE memos. The Energy Daily trade paper, The National Journal, and the Arizona Republic newspaper also wrote articles about ICE around that same month or earlier.
3.What little that can be seen at a Google books search of the 1992 The Greenhouse effect, Volume 64, edited by Matthew A. Kraljic, shows the identical wording of Matt Wald's NY Times article about ICE and the "reposition" phrase. Curtis Moore's 1994 book Green Gold, cites the phrase from Matt Wald's article. He also must have seen the other ICE papers, as he mentions an interview with a person cited in an ICE memo who is not named in Wald's article. Andrew Rowell's1996 Green backlash: global subversion of the environmental movement book repeats the "reposition" phrase without saying where he saw it, as does David Helvarg in The Nation in November 1996, again not noting the source. None of these works or any subsequent ones show the "reposition" memo in its complete form.
4.Matt Wald interviewed the head of Ozone Action, John Passacantando, and other workers on several occasions between June 1994 and December 1995 exclusively about ozone depletion.
5.Gelbspan's magazine article in Harper's "The Heat is On" makes the accusation that skeptic scientists receive coal & oil funding, but never mentions the "reposition" phrase or ICE.
6.Greenpeace archive scans of an Ozone Action 1996 report say Ozone Action and Ross Gelbspan "obtained" the ICE documents that year.
7.Ross Gelbspan's April 1997 The Heat is On book cites the "reposition" phrase without saying where he got it. The sleeve of his book says he is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. He repeatedly uses the word "denier" to describe skeptic scientists, and also claims the media gives undeserved balance to them.
8.Sentences from The Heat is On are quoted verbatim or paraphrased in articles by Mark Hertsgaard, Molly Ivins and the PBS NewsHour in August, October and December 1997, respectively. The "reposition" phrase itself is repeated in other publications in increasingly often beginning with Hertsgaard's article.
9.Ozone Action is incorporated into Greenpeace USA in 2000, as John Passacantando becomes executive director of Greenpeace.
10.Ozone Action & Green Corps worker Matt Stembridge, dressed as "Captain Climate" prompts U.S. Senator McCain to embrace AGW during McCain's run for the presidency.
11.A PBS Nova/Frontline program "What's Up with the Weather" presents arguably the most balanced AGW vs. skeptics program seen on PBS. I write a letter to President George W. Bush a year later commending him for his decision not to direct the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate CO2, considering the contradictions presented in the Nova/Frontline program.
12.Gelbspan has a 2nd book published in 2004, and Al Gore's NY Times review of it said Gelbspan's first book is 'the best, and virtually only, study of how the coal and oil industry' corrupts skeptic scientists. He also says Gelbspan is a Pulitzer winner. The NY Times corrects that a month later, at the end of the review.
13.In the time frame of 2000 to 2005, I become increasingly irritated by the PBS NewsHour's continued discussion of only the AGW side of the issue.
14.Mark Hertsgaard's "While Washington Slept" Vanity Fair article is published, with what appears to be an unequivocal statement that the "reposition" phrase originates from the Global Climate Coalition (GCC), a mistake that is repeated at Wikipedia from 2006 to 2008, thus prompting other mistaken repetitions of it worldwide. Wikipedia removes it when a critic points out how unsupportable it is.
15.In June of 2008, I see a paraphrase of the "reposition global warming" (with the incorrect GCC association) in the off-topic discussion section of a 4x4 camper vehicle web forum, but I fail to comprehend the significance of what looks to me like a preposterous accusation.
16.Upon the retirement of Passacantando from Greenpeace in 2009, the new director Phil Radford (a former Ozone Action & Green Corps worker) says in an interview that he caused Senator McCain to 'champion global warming', and praises Gelbspan as the lone voice prompting people to 'retake their country and future from the coal and oil interests behind global warming.'
And there you have it, contradictions already quite evident. If Gelbspan was the lone voice about skeptic scientists wanting to allegedly confuse the public by "repositioning global warming as theory", why were people prior to him talking about it? With so many web sites 'quoting a 1991 strategy memo', why is the "reposition" memo never seen anywhere in its complete context? Such questions show why I call this a hazy picture.
With the above chronology, I hope readers will have a better understanding of the details in my 7/6 American Thinker article, "Smearing Global Warming Skeptics"
and in my follow-up "The Left and Its Talking Points"
My American Thinker blog last December "The Lack of Climate Skeptics on PBS's 'NewsHour'"
though written 7 months earlier, is a good one to read after the 7/29 article because of one particular set of talking points I accidently discovered.
Then there are my others: "Al Gore's current marital breakdown & "other" difficulties may be the LEAST of his problems",
a variation of the 7/6 A. T. article with other details not seen there, and "The con-senseless for global warming media coverage",
where an old talking point about the media comes up again.
This not the end by any means. Every time I dig into a name association or a new quote of the "reposition" phrase, it leads down more paths that prompt questions, not answers. Professional unbiased journalists need to start finding answers, while also asking the tougher "what did you know and when did you know it" questions. If they prove the skeptic scientists aren't corrupt and should have been listened to, then just how big of a problem do we have with the IPCC, various national academies of science, the mainstream media and any others who said it was imperative that we solve global warming?
See more from Russell Cook at his site http://climategatecountryclub.com/profile/RussellCook