Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Rupert Murdoch keeps trying to kill us all

The Wall Street Journal ran another opinion piece that is skeptical of climate scientists. This one was written by Joseph Bast of the Heartland Institute and infamous denier, Roy Spencer. Rupert Murdoch published this article as an "opinion", though he knows it's not an opinion at all, but a virtual press release for the energy industry. He should not publish it except as an advertisement, and the WSJ should be paid for it. At least he should if he cared about journalistic ethics, but apparently he does not.

Rupert is flying high these days. He owns most of the newspapers in Australia, where 85% of the articles he runs on global warming are skeptical. Murdoch's long-term campaign has influenced the Australian electorate so well that the new, Conservative prime minister has proposed repealing the carbon tax, which will result in accelerated global warming and more unnecessary deaths.

Bast works for an organization which is neither a think tank nor a research institute. It is a public relations firm, bought and paid for by oil company money. Heartland has a long history of attacking scientists whose opinion is inconvenient to corporations. They are strong supporters of the tobacco companies, preaching that second-hand smoke is harmless. They are strong supporters of asbestos companies, preaching that asbestos is almost harmless, and even, in the long run, beneficial.

Now Heartland has taken on global warming, which it claims is unimportant, harmless, and exaggerated. It is using the same tactics it used against scientists who warned against the harmful effects of tobacco and asbestos. It takes money from the companies without giving any indication of where their money comes from. Check the Wall Street Journal article. Do you see any mention that Heartland takes major funding from the Koch brothers? Of course not. The whole purpose of this kind of PR campaign is to smear the honest scientists and reward dishonest ones for their assault on truth. Heartland does it very well. They should, because they have been doing the same thing for 30 years. 

Spencer does not deny his role in this charade. The only job of a scientist is to discover the truth. But Spencer says his job is
a little like a legislator, supported by the taxpayer, to protect the interests of the taxpayer and to minimize the role of government.
Spencer--a University professor--is supported by the government, but he gets extra income from climate deniers like the Koch brothers. Serious scientists have ignored Spencer for years because he has been wrong so many times in so many different ways. But he keeps on getting published in the popular press because it suits the purpose of those who profit from filling our atmosphere with deadly greenhouse gases.

The point of view of the WSJ article is that the claim that 97% of climate scientists accept global warming is a myth. The number comes from counting the number of articles that oppose man-made global warming which were published in peer-reviewed journals during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Ninety-seven per cent of those articles either supported the theory of man-made global warming or didn't mention the topic. Only 3% of the articles opposed the theory, though not all of them dismissed it out of hand.

That 97% is an outdated figure. Between 1991 and 2012,  13,950 peer-reviewed articles have been published. Only 24 of them rejected the theory of global warming. Using the same method that led to the 97% figure mentioned in the article, we find the total percentage of scientific articles written by scientists who support the theory of man-made climate change is 99.8%.

Bast and Spencer argue with that figure. I suppose they must, since it makes the situation quite clear and they don't like the situation, nor do their energy-industry clients. But the figure is actually meaningless, because science is not determined by democratic vote. It is determined by scientific studies that can be repeated by other scientists. Using that measure, there is not a single study that contradicts the theory of man-made global warming. Not one.

Climate change deniers are not scientists. They do not care whether the temperature of the earth rises 10 degrees or sea level rises 50 feet. Their attitude is the same as the investment who abbreviated their rationale for capsizing the world economy: IBGYBG. I'll be gone, you'll be gone. This was their justification for causing millions of people to lose their life savings and millions more to lose their jobs. It didn't matter because the investment bankers would not suffer personally, someone else would suffer. IBGYBG.

When it comes to climate change, the lack of morality in that phrase, "I'll be gone, you'll be gone", reaches the level of obscenity. Yes, Rupert Murdoch will be gone. David Koch will be gone. You and I may also be gone. But we will be leaving our children and grandchildren to suffer. Many of they will die, from hunger, thirst, heat, or violence caused by the vicious struggle for survival in an uncertain future.

IBGYBG means many will die. Rupert Murdoch, by continuing to publish such propaganda, is causing people to die, just as certainly as if he took a gun and pulled the trigger. Rupert Murdoch is trying to kill us all.

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