By John J. Hidore
Denying Global Warming
In 1998 an international conference on global warming was convened in Kyoto, Japan. Many nations were represented at the conference, indicating a global awareness that there is a real problem related to adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. As it turned out, the largest contingent at the conference was that of corporations, mainly those related to fossil fuels. They lobbied hard for the concept that global warming was a natural event and that human activity had nothing to do with it. These deniers nearly prevailed. Only the efforts of then Senator Al Gore and a few others brought about a plan to reduce the problem. At that conference many countries set goals for reducing their contributions of dumping carbon dioxide into our atmosphere.
Human beings use the concept of denial in order not to deal with threats they cannot comprehend or understand. The majority of the people in the United States, and probably in the world, believe that global warming exists. However, there is a tendency in some to deny it. They deny it because it is simply beyond their ability to understand why it is taking place or that they could be part of the cause. Dan Brown stated very clearly the characteristics of denial in his recent book entitled Inferno (New York: Doubleday. 2013).
Denial is not limited to individuals. Corporations have long used denial to hide negative impacts of their policies and products. Energy corporations deny global warming for fear it will lower profits. Those in denial in the past relied heavily on the lack of scientific evidence to back up the theory. Now the data is in from almost every aspect of the environment stating that our planet is heating up.
The Denial of the Kyoto Protocol
Since the Kyoto Conference there has been a well-organized and vigorous campaign to deny the findings and actions of the conference. Of the active deniers of global warming, the majority are not scientists. They are people paid to prepare literature, TV adds, and newspaper ads. They are also representatives of corporations that want to protect profits. With decades of rising temperatures they have grudgingly admitted that the planet may be warming, but insist it is due to natural causes. Instead they try and convince us that it is useless to try and do anything about it.
Common Characteristics of Global Warming Denial
Those that deny global warming tend to have several things in common:
1.They do not believe Earth is heating due to man made causes
2.They maintain that if it is heating, it is due to natural causes.
3.If they are politicians they repeatedly vote against limiting carbon emissions.
4. They are anti-science
The seriousness of climate change has brought the issue into national and international politics. The G.W. Bush administration repeatedly tried to keep NASA scientists from delivering data on temperature increases to the press. In 2012, Senator James Imhof, Republican from Oklahoma stated that climate change was a hoax perpetrated on the American people. He insisted that there is only a debate whether global warming exists.
After 30 year of steadily warming temperatures, the 113th congress mostly consists of anti global warming members. In the Senate 30 of 46 members are climate deniers. All senate democrats are advocates of global warming. In the house 128 of 233 members are global warming deniers. The Republican Party leadership consists of 90% global warming deniers. Among 200 democrats in the house all are supporters of global warming and climate change. Corporations have intensely lobbied congress to prevent legislation that might adversely affect their operations. Corporate America has, and is, spending huge amounts of money to cover up global warming. Whether it is cause or effect, large donations from energy industries flow accordingly. Campaign contributions to climate change deniers in the house and senate are more than three times that for the supporters of global warming. Campaign contributions in the senate are more than four times as great for the global warming deniers as for the supporters. ThinkProgress maintains an up-to-date- list of the deniers and their donations at thinkprogress.org/climate-denier-caucasu.
The Environmental Literacy Improvement Act
Beginning in January of 2013, Heartland Institute and a group called American Legislative Council started introducing a bill in state legislatures called the “Environmental Literacy Improvement Act”. This act demands that global warming not be taught in schools. They insist there should be a neutral treatment of climate change, which suggests the evidence for global warming is debatable. The act has already been legalized in a number of states. They include Texas, Lousiana, South Dakota, and Tennessee. It is currently being considered in other states including Colorado, Arizona, and Oklahoma.
U.N. Conference on Climate Change-Warsaw
In November of 2013 a UN conference on climate change negotiations was held in Warsaw, Poland. This conference was to prepare for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to be considered and hopefully adapted. Unfortunately, vested interests resulted in fairly weak proposals that can ill be afforded. The emission of greenhouse gases will likely continue, led by China and India.
The fight for action to slow
is clearly just beginning!