An orchestrated campaign is being waged against climate change science to undermine public acceptance of man-made global warming it was claimed.
The attack against scientists supportive of the idea of climate change has grown in ferocity and become more personal since the leak of thousands of documents on the subject from the University of East Anglia (UEA) on the eve of the Copenhagen climate summit last December.
Anti-climate change think-tanks such as the Atlas Economic Research Foundation in the US and the International Policy Network in the UK have received grants totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds from the multinational energy company ExxonMobil. Both organisations have funded international seminars pulling together climate change deniers from across the globe.
Critics have broadcast material from the leaked UEA emails to undermine climate change predictions and to highlight errors in claims that the Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035.
Climate deniers broadcast stories last week casting doubts on scientific data predicting dramatic loss of the Amazon rainforest. All three stories, picked up by mainstream media, questioned the credibility of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the way it does its work.
The controversies have shaken the IPCC, whose chairman, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, was subjected to a series of personal attacks on his reputation and lifestyle last week. A poll this weekend confirmed that public confidence in the climate change consensus has been shaken: one in four Britons – 25 per cent – now say they do not believe in global warming; previously this figure stood at 15 per cent.
Professor Bob Watson, the chief scientific adviser of Defra and former chairman of the IPCC, said yesterday that the backlash is the result of a campaign: "It does appear that there's a concerted effort by a number of sceptics to undermine the credibility of the evidence behind human-induced climate change."
A complicated web of relationships revolves around a number of right-wing think-tanks around the world that dispute the threats of climate change. ExxonMobil is a key player behind the scenes, having donated hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past few years to climate change sceptics. The Atlas Foundation, created by the late Sir Anthony Fisher (founder of the Institute of Economic Affairs), received more than $100,000 in 2008 from ExxonMobil.
Atlas co-sponsored a meeting of the world's leading climate sceptics in New York last March. Called "Global Warming: Was It Ever Really a Crisis?", it was organised by the Heartland Institute – a group that described the event as "the world's largest-ever gathering of global warming sceptics". The organisation is another right-wing think-tank to have benefited from funding given by ExxonMobil in recent years.
A large British contingent was present at the event, with speakers including Dr Benny Peiser, from Lord Lawson's climate sceptic think-tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF); the botanist David Bellamy; Julian Morris and Kendra Okonski from the London-based International Policy Network; the weather forecaster Piers Corbyn; Christopher Monckton, a former policy adviser to Margaret Thatcher; and Professor David Henderson, a member of GWPF's advisory council.
Bob Ward from the London School of Economics, said: "A lot of the climate sceptic arguments are being made by people with demonstrable right-wing ideology which is based on opposition to any environmental regulation of the market, and they are clearly being given money that allows them to disseminate their views more widely than would be the case if they didn't have oil company funding."
I have been looking at James Delingpole at the Telegraph, his denialist views seem comic but some are taking him seriously. He says he 'is right about everything' and refers to those who think climate change is serious as 'warmists'. He talks about 'Al Gore’s AGW gravy train' as though climate scientists are a highly paid conspiracy. He thinks wind turbines destroy the landscape!
His attacks on IPCC Chair Pachauri get more personal.
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