Why there’s Confusion over Consensus

Although there’s consensus among those scientists who study and publish in the field of climate change you often talk to people who have the impression that there is some sort of scientific controversy about global warming.

Why is that?

What the scientists are telling us is that burning fossil fuels is what’s pushing up carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

The companies that sell fossil fuels know that to decrease world output of carbon dioxide means they can’t sell their products. So for them stirring up controversy is a business investment aimed at keeping their markets open.

They fund communications specialists to make the public think the science isn’t settled or that maybe global warming isn’t such a bad thing.

For example a 2009 report from the US based Center for Public Integrity says that there are 2,340 registered energy lobbyists in Washington DC.

That same year the Montreal Gazette reported that there had been as many as 1,570 lobbyists in Ottawa trying to influence the Canadian government on climate change.

For industries selling many billions of dollars’ worth of fossil fuels, investing millions in keeping their markets open seems like good value.

When that kind of money is at stake you can be sure that some people are not above lying. Their claims don’t have to go through any kind of peer review process; and their budgets get them mainstream media exposure.

Their tactics are well documented in books like Climate Cover-Up, the Inquisition of Climate Science, and websites like desmogblog.

So that’s why there are so many people out there who don’t understand that there is scientific consensus; it’s because fossil fuel companies are spending lots of money to make them understand something different.