Monday, July 7, 2008

Big Oil "basically obscured reality" for Much and Many

This is the violence inherent in our pointilistic conception of being: Hell for the Many, Heaven for One Alone

AMY GOODMAN: Stephen Susman is referring to this global warming denying movement. In fact, it’s one of the core theories in the lawsuit, conspiracy to defraud the American people, to mislead the American people and people around the world. How does it affect the scientific community? What do you see? I mean, you call it “global climate disruption.” What is this denial movement?

JOHN HOLDREN: Well, the denial movement has flourished, in part, because of the preoccupation of the media with balance and with controversy. And so, if you have 3,000 scientists working for years and producing a report that says our considered opinion is the climate is changing by this much, it’s changing this fast, it’s having these effects, and you have two or three so-called denialists or a few small think tanks, some of which were certainly funded by Exxon, saying the opposite, they get equal time. The deniers get equal time in the newspapers, on the television.

Another problem is that a denier can tell a lie in a single sentence that takes a scientist three paragraphs to rebut, but the scientist never gets the three paragraphs in the sound bite culture that our media represent. And so, the denialists, even though they are small in number, they have no credible arguments, very few of them have any scientific credentials, get attention out of all proportion to their credentials, the merit of their arguments, and that delays the generation of public understanding and political will to do the things we need to do to address this challenge. There are a lot of things we can do, but we have been delaying doing them, in part because the so-called skeptics, or more accurately deniers or denialists, have basically obscured reality for much of the public and indeed for many of our policymakers.

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