Monday, December 29, 2008

The 2008 International Conference on Climate Change? WTF?

(Published March 5, 2008 Crossroads Chronicle, Cashiers, NC)

By the time of this publication, hopefully it will all be over. Sponsored by the euphemistically named Heartland Institute, the stated intent of this first supposedly annual conference is “to call attention to widespread dissent in the scientific community to the alleged “consensus” that the modern warming is primarily man-made and is a crisis,” to borrow directly from their website.

Scheduled from March 2 – 4 in Manhattan, the conference sounds like something the United Nations would put on. Don’t be mislead. The Heartland Institute is another “Astroturf” organization, which attempts to mimic the kind of spontaneous grassroots movement in which the populace gets behind an organization, such as Greenpeace. However, the Heartland Institute is merely a front for a number of corporate interests, with Exxon Mobil and Phillip Morris among its largest contributors. The organization does not currently reveal its sponsors.

The Institute is already threatening to descend upon the hapless city of London in 2009. Forewarned is forearmed.

Corporate America, bless its little heart, has figured out that to muddy the waters of an issue can be to corporate advantage. Witness the decades long effort by the tobacco companies to minimize the perceived negative health impact from smoking. The orchestrated campaign of lies continued up until the 1990s, insuring continued fat profit margins at the expense of public health. In fact, representatives from major tobacco companies lied directly to Congress regarding their knowledge of the ill effects of tobacco use, and got away with it. At the corporate level, crime absolutely does pay.

In 2000, the coal industry could well see the benefits of sugar coating serious problems, and started the Americans for Balanced Energy Choices campaign, another Astroturf organization that obviously claims to represent Americans. As a result of these efforts, and under the Bush administration, coal fired power plants have experienced a grand resurgence. If coal is clean, then so is crack cocaine.

It is apparent that these public relations and misinformation campaigns are an effective method for corporate special interests to advance their goals. Dozens and dozens of legitimate sounding non-profit front organizations have cropped up like so many dragon’s teeth, much to the chagrin of some people who happen to like something called the truth. With names like the American Enterprise Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, to name two really big and influential ones, they espouse sound science and claim to be non-biased, which are two big fat lies right before they even get started good.

The following is an example of the sound science and sound logic promulgated by the Heartland Institute:

"Some environmentalists call for a "save-the-day" strategy to 'stop global warming,' saying it is better to be safe than sorry. Such a position seems logical until we stop to think: Immediate action wouldn't make us any safer, but it would surely make us poorer. And being poorer would make us less safe."

One cannot argue with such bullet- proof logic as that. It must have been spoken by one of their so called “scientists,” the word being used very loosely in this sense.

Someone from the Blue Ridge School or Summit Charter School could probably help here, but it seems like the process of science involves something along the lines of making a hypotheses, testing it, and drawing conclusions. I don’t seem to remember anything about getting paid money by Exxon Mobil or a tobacco or coal company and then making stuff up, but I may already be starting to slip.

The “scientists” from these so called think tanks may be under the influence of big corporate dollars, or they may just be really, really out there. Like Star Wars out there.
What was it that Obi-Wan Kenobi (Sir Alec Guinness) said to Luke before entering the cantina?…Oh yes,….”You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.” Sir Guinness could have almost been talking about this recent conference as well.

Still, it must have a spectacle to behold, the cast of characters similar to that as seen on Tatooine. I wonder if the hammer head guy made it to this conference? That guy was awesome!

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