Climate change deniers using familiar strategy

OlympiaAugust 31, 2013 

We’d all like to believe that climate change is a hoax. But when that assurance comes from the same people who told us smoking didn’t cause cancer, I think I’ll put my trust in the scientific evidence.

The planet is warming; the consequences will be very serious. Tobacco companies knew smoking caused cancer as early as the 1950’s, yet they hired think tanks to convince us that it did not. “Doubt is our product,” a Brown and Williamson Tobacco Co. memo stated in 1969. “It is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ (linking smoking with disease) that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy … .”

If the Brown and Williams’ strategy doesn’t have a familiar ring, it should. The same think tanks (such as Heartland Institute) which convinced many of us that smoking didn’t cause cancer, are now being paid by the fossil fuel industry to convince us that the burning of fossil fuels isn’t contributing to global warming. As they did with tobacco, they hired a few “scientists” to attack the credibility and research of real scientists, then claimed the issue was unproven, controversial.

I appreciate the efforts of the president, the governor, local officials and others, who are able to sort fact from fiction, and who are making constructive efforts to preserve a livable planet for generations to come.

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