Activism Discussion: Denial Industry: ExxonMobil's "Climate 'skeptic'" Roots In "Smoking Is Safe" Tobacco Industry Lies

Denial Industry: ExxonMobil's "Climate 'skeptic'" Roots In "Smoking Is Safe" Tobacco Industry Lies
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I*@economicdemocracy.org
2006-09-19 11:56:47 EST
The denial industry

For years, a network of fake citizens' groups and bogus scientific
bodies has been claiming that science of global warming is
inconclusive. They set back action on climate change by a decade. But
who funded them? Exxon's involvement is well known, but not the strange
role of Big Tobacco. In the first of three extracts from his new book,
George Monbiot tells a bizarre and shocking new story

Tuesday September 19, 2006
The Guardian

Exxon station in California
'The impacts of the climate-change deniers sponsored by Exxon have been
felt all over the world.' Photograph: AP

ExxonMobil is the world's most profitable corporation. Its sales now
amount to more than $1bn a day. It makes most of this money from oil,
and has more to lose than any other company from efforts to tackle
climate change. To safeguard its profits, ExxonMobil needs to sow doubt
about whether serious action needs to be taken on climate change. But
there are difficulties: it must confront a scientific consensus as
strong as that which maintains that smoking causes lung cancer or that
HIV causes Aids. So what's its strategy?

Article continues
The website Exxonsecrets.org, using data found in the company's
official documents, lists 124 organisations that have taken money from
the company or work closely with those that have. These organisations
take a consistent line on climate change: that the science is
contradictory, the scientists are split, environmentalists are
charlatans, liars or lunatics, and if governments took action to
prevent global warming, they would be endangering the global economy
for no good reason. The findings these organisations dislike are
labelled "junk science". The findings they welcome are labelled "sound
science".

Among the organisations that have been funded by Exxon are such
well-known websites and lobby groups as TechCentralStation, the Cato
Institute and the Heritage Foundation. Some of those on the list have
names that make them look like grassroots citizens' organisations or
academic bodies: the Centre for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global
Change, for example. One or two of them, such as the Congress of Racial
Equality, are citizens' organisations or academic bodies, but the line
they take on climate change is very much like that of the other
sponsored groups. While all these groups are based in America, their
publications are read and cited, and their staff are interviewed and
quoted, all over the world.

By funding a large number of organisations, Exxon helps to create the
impression that doubt about climate change is widespread. For those who
do not understand that scientific findings cannot be trusted if they
have not appeared in peer-reviewed journals, the names of these
institutes help to suggest that serious researchers are challenging the
consensus.

This is not to claim that all the science these groups champion is
bogus. On the whole, they use selection, not invention. They will find
one contradictory study - such as the discovery of tropospheric
cooling, which, in a garbled form, has been used by Peter Hitchens in
the Mail on Sunday - and promote it relentlessly. They will continue to
do so long after it has been disproved by further work. So, for
example, John Christy, the author of the troposphere paper, admitted in
August 2005 that his figures were incorrect, yet his initial findings
are still being circulated and championed by many of these groups, as a
quick internet search will show you.

But they do not stop there. The chairman of a group called the Science
and Environmental Policy Project is Frederick Seitz. Seitz is a
physicist who in the 1960s was president of the US National Academy of
Sciences. In 1998, he wrote a document, known as the Oregon Petition,
which has been cited by almost every journalist who claims that climate
change is a myth.

The document reads as follows: "We urge the United States government to
reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan,
in December 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits
on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of
science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.
There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon
dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the
foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's
atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is
substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon
dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and
animal environments of the Earth."

Anyone with a degree was entitled to sign it. It was attached to a
letter written by Seitz, entitled Research Review of Global Warming
Evidence. The lead author of the "review" that followed Seitz's letter
is a Christian fundamentalist called Arthur B Robinson. He is not a
professional climate scientist. It was co-published by Robinson's
organisation - the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine - and an
outfit called the George C Marshall Institute, which has received
$630,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998. The other authors were Robinson's
22-year-old son and two employees of the George C Marshall Institute.
The chairman of the George C Marshall Institute was Frederick Seitz.

The paper maintained that: "We are living in an increasingly lush
environment of plants and animals as a result of the carbon dioxide
increase. Our children will enjoy an Earth with far more plant and
animal life than that with which we now are blessed. This is a
wonderful and unexpected gift from the Industrial Revolution."

It was printed in the font and format of the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences: the journal of the organisation of which
Seitz - as he had just reminded his correspondents - was once
president.

Soon after the petition was published, the National Academy of Sciences
released this statement: "The NAS Council would like to make it clear
that this petition has nothing to do with the National Academy of
Sciences and that the manuscript was not published in the Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences or in any other peer-reviewed
journal. The petition does not reflect the conclusions of expert
reports of the Academy."

But it was too late. Seitz, the Oregon Institute and the George C
Marshall Institute had already circulated tens of thousands of copies,
and the petition had established a major presence on the internet. Some
17,000 graduates signed it, the majority of whom had no background in
climate science. It has been repeatedly cited - by global-warming
sceptics such as David Bellamy, Melanie Phillips and others - as a
petition by climate scientists. It is promoted by the Exxon-sponsored
sites as evidence that there is no scientific consensus on climate
change.

All this is now well known to climate scientists and environmentalists.
But what I have discovered while researching this issue is that the
corporate funding of lobby groups denying that manmade climate change
is taking place was initiated not by Exxon, or by any other firm
directly involved in the fossil fuel industry. It was started by the
tobacco company Philip Morris.

In December 1992, the US Environmental Protection Agency published a
500-page report called Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking.
It found that "the widespread exposure to environmental tobacco smoke
(ETS) in the United States presents a serious and substantial public
health impact. In adults: ETS is a human lung carcinogen, responsible
for approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths annually in US non-smokers.
In children: ETS exposure is causally associated with an increased risk
of lower respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia.
This report estimates that 150,000 to 300,000 cases annually in infants
and young children up to 18 months of age are attributable to ETS."

Had it not been for the settlement of a major class action against the
tobacco companies in the US, we would never have been able to see what
happened next. But in 1998 they were forced to publish their internal
documents and post them on the internet.

Within two months of its publication, Philip Morris, the world's
biggest tobacco firm, had devised a strategy for dealing with the
passive-smoking report. In February 1993 Ellen Merlo, its senior
vice-president of corporate affairs, sent a letter to William I
Campbell, Philip Morris's chief executive officer and president,
explaining her intentions: "Our overriding objective is to discredit
the EPA report ... Concurrently, it is our objective to prevent states
and cities, as well as businesses, from passive-smoking bans."

To this end, she had hired a public relations company called APCO. She
had attached the advice it had given her. APCO warned that: "No matter
how strong the arguments, industry spokespeople are, in and of
themselves, not always credible or appropriate messengers."

So the fight against a ban on passive smoking had to be associated with
other people and other issues. Philip Morris, APCO said, needed to
create the impression of a "grassroots" movement - one that had been
formed spontaneously by concerned citizens to fight "overregulation".
It should portray the danger of tobacco smoke as just one "unfounded
fear" among others, such as concerns about pesticides and cellphones.
APCO proposed to set up "a national coalition intended to educate the
media, public officials and the public about the dangers of 'junk
science'. Coalition will address credibility of government's scientific
studies, risk-assessment techniques and misuse of tax dollars ... Upon
formation of Coalition, key leaders will begin media outreach, eg
editorial board tours, opinion articles, and brief elected officials in
selected states."

APCO would found the coalition, write its mission statements, and
"prepare and place opinion articles in key markets". For this it
required $150,000 for its own fees and $75,000 for the coalition's
costs.

By May 1993, as another memo from APCO to Philip Morris shows, the fake
citizens' group had a name: the Advancement of Sound Science Coalition.
It was important, further letters stated, "to ensure that TASSC has a
diverse group of contributors"; to "link the tobacco issue with other
more 'politically correct' products"; and to associate scientific
studies that cast smoking in a bad light with "broader questions about
government research and regulations" - such as "global warming",
"nuclear waste disposal" and "biotechnology". APCO would engage in the
"intensive recruitment of high-profile representatives from business
and industry, scientists, public officials, and other individuals
interested in promoting the use of sound science".

By September 1993, APCO had produced a "Plan for the Public Launching
of TASSC". The media launch would not take place in "Washington, DC or
the top media markets of the country. Rather, we suggest creating a
series of aggressive, decentralised launches in several targeted local
and regional markets across the country. This approach ... avoids
cynical reporters from major media: less reviewing/challenging of TASSC
messages."

The media coverage, the public relations company hoped, would enable
TASSC to "establish an image of a national grassroots coalition". In
case the media asked hostile questions, APCO circulated a sheet of
answers, drafted by Philip Morris. The first question was:

"Isn't it true that Philip Morris created TASSC to act as a front group
for it?

"A: No, not at all. As a large corporation, PM belongs to many
national, regional, and state business, public policy, and legislative
organisations. PM has contributed to TASSC, as we have with various
groups and corporations across the country."

There are clear similarities between the language used and the
approaches adopted by Philip Morris and by the organisations funded by
Exxon. The two lobbies use the same terms, which appear to have been
invented by Philip Morris's consultants. "Junk science" meant
peer-reviewed studies showing that smoking was linked to cancer and
other diseases. "Sound science" meant studies sponsored by the tobacco
industry suggesting that the link was inconclusive. Both lobbies
recognised that their best chance of avoiding regulation was to
challenge the scientific consensus. As a memo from the tobacco company
Brown and Williamson noted, "Doubt is our product since it is the best
means of competing with the 'body of fact' that exists in the mind of
the general public. It is also the means of establishing a
controversy." Both industries also sought to distance themselves from
their own campaigns, creating the impression that they were spontaneous
movements of professionals or ordinary citizens: the "grassroots".

But the connection goes further than that. TASSC, the "coalition"
created by Philip Morris, was the first and most important of the
corporate-funded organisations denying that climate change is taking
place. It has done more damage to the campaign to halt it than any
other body.

TASSC did as its founders at APCO suggested, and sought funding from
other sources. Between 2000 and 2002 it received $30,000 from Exxon.
The website it has financed - JunkScience.com - has been the main
entrepot for almost every kind of climate-change denial that has found
its way into the mainstream press. It equates environmentalists with
Nazis, communists and terrorists. It flings at us the accusations that
could justifably be levelled against itself: the website claims, for
example, that it is campaigning against "faulty scientific data and
analysis used to advance special and, often, hidden agendas". I have
lost count of the number of correspondents who, while questioning
manmade global warming, have pointed me there.

The man who runs it is called Steve Milloy. In 1992, he started working
for APCO - Philip Morris's consultants. While there, he set up the
JunkScience site. In March 1997, the documents show, he was appointed
TASSC's executive director. By 1998, as he explained in a memo to TASSC
board members, his JunkScience website was was being funded by TASSC.
Both he and the "coalition" continued to receive money from Philip
Morris. An internal document dated February 1998 reveals that TASSC
took $200,000 from the tobacco company in 1997. Philip Morris's 2001
budget document records a payment to Steven Milloy of $90,000. Altria,
Philip Morris's parent company, admits that Milloy was under contract
to the tobacco firm until at least the end of 2005.

He has done well. You can find his name attached to letters and
articles seeking to discredit passive-smoking studies all over the
internet and in the academic databases. He has even managed to reach
the British Medical Journal: I found a letter from him there which
claimed that the studies it had reported "do not bear out the
hypothesis that maternal smoking/ passive smoking increases cancer risk
among infants". TASSC paid him $126,000 in 2004 for 15 hours' work a
week. Two other organisations are registered at his address: the Free
Enterprise Education Institute and the Free Enterprise Action
Institute. They have received $10,000 and $50,000 respectively from
Exxon. The secretary of the Free Enterprise Action Institute is Thomas
Borelli. Borelli was the Philip Morris executive who oversaw the
payments to TASSC.

Milloy also writes a weekly Junk Science column for the Fox News
website. Without declaring his interests, he has used this column to
pour scorn on studies documenting the medical effects of second-hand
tobacco smoke and showing that climate change is taking place. Even
after Fox News was told about the money he had been receiving from
Philip Morris and Exxon, it continued to employ him, without informing
its readers about his interests.

TASSC's headed notepaper names an advisory board of eight people. Three
of them are listed by Exxonsecrets.org as working for organisations
taking money from Exxon. One of them is Frederick Seitz, the man who
wrote the Oregon Petition, and who chairs the Science and Environmental
Policy Project. In 1979, Seitz became a permanent consultant to the
tobacco company RJ Reynolds. He worked for the firm until at least
1987, for an annual fee of $65,000. He was in charge of deciding which
medical research projects the company should fund, and handed out
millions of dollars a year to American universities. The purpose of
this funding, a memo from the chairman of RJ Reynolds shows, was to
"refute the criticisms against cigarettes". An undated note in the
Philip Morris archive shows that it was planning a "Seitz symposium"
with the help of TASSC, in which Frederick Seitz would speak to "40-60
regulators".

The president of Seitz's Science and Environmental Policy Project is a
maverick environmental scientist called S Fred Singer. He has spent the
past few years refuting evidence for manmade climate change. It was he,
for example, who published the misleading claim that most of the
world's glaciers are advancing, which landed David Bellamy in so much
trouble when he repeated it last year. He also had connections with the
tobacco industry. In March 1993, APCO sent a memo to Ellen Merlo, the
vice-president of Philip Morris, who had just commissioned it to fight
the Environmental Protection Agency: "As you know, we have been working
with Dr Fred Singer and Dr Dwight Lee, who have authored articles on
junk science and indoor air quality (IAQ) respectively ..."

Singer's article, entitled Junk Science at the EPA, claimed that "the
latest 'crisis' - environmental tobacco smoke - has been widely
criticised as the most shocking distortion of scientific evidence yet".
He alleged that the Environmental Protection Agency had had to "rig the
numbers" in its report on passive smoking. This was the report that
Philip Morris and APCO had set out to discredit a month before Singer
wrote his article.

I have no evidence that Fred Singer or his organisation have taken
money from Philip Morris. But many of the other bodies that have been
sponsored by Exxon and have sought to repudiate climate change were
also funded by the tobacco company. Among them are some of the world's
best-known "thinktanks": the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Cato
Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Hudson Institute, the Frontiers
of Freedom Institute, the Reason Foundation and the Independent
Institute, as well as George Mason University's Law and Economics
Centre. I can't help wondering whether there is any aspect of
conservative thought in the United States that has not been formed and
funded by the corporations.

Until I came across this material, I believed that the accusations, the
insults and the taunts such people had slung at us environmentalists
were personal: that they really did hate us, and had found someone who
would pay to help them express those feelings. Now I realise that they
have simply transferred their skills.

While they have been most effective in the United States, the impacts
of the climate-change deniers sponsored by Exxon and Philip Morris have
been felt all over the world. I have seen their arguments endlessly
repeated in Australia, Canada, India, Russia and the UK. By dominating
the media debate on climate change during seven or eight critical years
in which urgent international talks should have been taking place, by
constantly seeding doubt about the science just as it should have been
most persuasive, they have justified the money their sponsors have
spent on them many times over. It is fair to say that the professional
denial industry has delayed effective global action on climate change
by years, just as it helped to delay action against the tobacco
companies.

ยท This is an edited extract from Heat, by George Monbiot, published by
Allen Lane

http://www.guardian.co.uk/climatechange/story/0,,1875760,00.html

=============

DON'T MOURN, ACT! WEBSITES FOR ACTION:

http://www.earthshare.org/get_involved/involved.html
http://www.greenhousenet.org/
http://www.solarcatalyst.com/
http://www.campaignearth.org/buy_green_nativeenergy.asp

Overview and local actions you can take: http://www.PostCarbon.org
=============

= = = =
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IS GIVING A FULL HONEST PICTURE OF WHAT'S GOING ON?
= = = =
Daily online radio show, news reporting: www.DemocracyNow.org
More news: UseNet's misc.activism.progressive (moderated)
= = = =
Sorry, we cannot read/reply to most usenet posts but welcome email
For more information: http://EconomicDemocracy.org/wtc/ (peace)
And http://EconomicDemocracy.org/ (general)

** Email Note: "info" and "map" etc DON'T work. Now:
econdemocracy(at)gmail


C*@sbcglobal.net
2006-09-19 13:25:39 EST

i*o@economicdemocracy.org wrote:
> The denial industry
>
> For years, a network of fake citizens' groups and bogus scientific
> bodies has been claiming that science of global warming is
> inconclusive.

It is.

> They set back action on climate change by a decade.

Get real. It's not like anybody does anything but pay you loons lip
service anyway.

> But
> who funded them?

Who cares? If the science was sound it would make no difference.

<snip hand wringing nonsense>


Raylopez99
2006-09-19 16:00:30 EST
c*k@sbcglobal.net wrote:

[WISE WISE WISE!]

Well said claudiusdenk.

IN fact, "second hand smoke" (environmental tobbacco) that the nutcase
posted on has been found in some studies to be NEGATIVELY correlated
with cancer. Exposure to minute quantities of smoke actually toughens
the body and prevents cancer (same with small amounts of radiation).

So essentially the tobacco companies were right on this issue (though
not on the bigger issue of whether smoking causes cancer, statistically
speaking, which it does).

RL


Bill Pfeifer
2006-09-19 23:14:35 EST
Exxon stooge claudiusdenk@sbcglobal.net wrote:
> info@economicdemocracy.org wrote:
>
>>The denial industry
>>
>>For years, a network of fake citizens' groups and bogus scientific
>>bodies has been claiming that science of global warming is
>>inconclusive.
>
>
> It is.

Is not.

>>They set back action on climate change by a decade.
>
>
> Get real. It's not like anybody does anything but pay you loons lip
> service anyway.

Look who's talking! Other than a few right-wing fundamentalist
nuts no scientists are doubting the facts any longer.
Pull your head out of your ass and look at *real* science
instead just parroting age-old, obsolete bogus crap.

>>But
>>who funded them?
>
>
> Who cares? If the science was sound it would make no difference.
>
> <snip hand wringing nonsense>

You Exxon stooges are pathetic!
Your "science" probably also denies that smoking causes cancer,
that HIV causes AIDS and that the earth is round!


Bill Pfeifer
2006-09-19 23:18:30 EST
raylopez99 wrote:
> claudiusdenk@sbcglobal.net wrote:
>
> [WISE WISE WISE!]
>
> Well said claudiusdenk.
>
> IN fact, "second hand smoke" (environmental tobbacco) that the nutcase
> posted on has been found in some studies to be NEGATIVELY correlated
> with cancer. Exposure to minute quantities of smoke actually toughens
> the body and prevents cancer (same with small amounts of radiation).

"Some studies"
BWAAAHAHAHAHAHA!

> So essentially the tobacco companies were right on this issue (though
> not on the bigger issue of whether smoking causes cancer, statistically
> speaking, which it does).

WOW! You actually admit that smoking causes cancer!?!
Better sign up for a re-education camp.


Mcs
2006-09-20 08:06:13 EST
so what people will die and get cancer from built up of toxins. I write
politicians and most don't even answer me when I suggest the closer people
are to the accumulated affects of buildup of gases from atmosphere the more
chances of cancer, heart disease and early death. Some as much as fifteen
years! I was never so certain of the connections in my life. Its much more
then just accepting this mess as geography changes, this is simply a policy
that is accepted by people in charge in USA and energy companies and NO one
will ever hold them accountable to the people they poisoned. And Let God be
my judge people are being poisoned. As i leave my work and vacation plans in
Jersey and New York I am often taken back and my lungs constrict as I head
to Philly yet no one cares. This is totally involuntary reflex due the
poisons. Can you imagine families having to put up with this for decades?
Ok? Now you or anyone tell me why this isn't the most important things in
people lives right now... MASS MURDER by oil , coal and car companies and
who will ever compensate those that will lose their health and lives and
fiances to it? There are many many ways to prove all this beyond the few
studies on web and epa findings and American Lung Associations ratings of F.
Where are the attorneys? Why isn't more being done. What I do hear is its
not as bad as it once was, and its a beautiful day , and 23 different
medications to treat sleep disorders and asthma and allergy after they
poison you We get commercials for inhalers and oxygen and not a worry in the
world why people age and die faster in these polluted hell holes ..
<*o@economicdemocracy.org> wrote in message
news:1158681407.782351.246170@k70g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
The denial industry

For years, a network of fake citizens' groups and bogus scientific
bodies has been claiming that science of global warming is
inconclusive. They set back action on climate change by a decade. But
who funded them? Exxon's involvement is well known, but not the strange
role of Big Tobacco. In the first of three extracts from his new book,
George Monbiot tells a bizarre and shocking new story

Tuesday September 19, 2006
The Guardian

Exxon station in California
'The impacts of the climate-change deniers sponsored by Exxon have been
felt all over the world.' Photograph: AP

ExxonMobil is the world's most profitable corporation. Its sales now
amount to more than $1bn a day. It makes most of this money from oil,
and has more to lose than any other company from efforts to tackle
climate change. To safeguard its profits, ExxonMobil needs to sow doubt
about whether serious action needs to be taken on climate change. But
there are difficulties: it must confront a scientific consensus as
strong as that which maintains that smoking causes lung cancer or that
HIV causes Aids. So what's its strategy?

Article continues
The website Exxonsecrets.org, using data found in the company's
official documents, lists 124 organisations that have taken money from
the company or work closely with those that have. These organisations
take a consistent line on climate change: that the science is
contradictory, the scientists are split, environmentalists are
charlatans, liars or lunatics, and if governments took action to
prevent global warming, they would be endangering the global economy
for no good reason. The findings these organisations dislike are
labelled "junk science". The findings they welcome are labelled "sound
science".

Among the organisations that have been funded by Exxon are such
well-known websites and lobby groups as TechCentralStation, the Cato
Institute and the Heritage Foundation. Some of those on the list have
names that make them look like grassroots citizens' organisations or
academic bodies: the Centre for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global
Change, for example. One or two of them, such as the Congress of Racial
Equality, are citizens' organisations or academic bodies, but the line
they take on climate change is very much like that of the other
sponsored groups. While all these groups are based in America, their
publications are read and cited, and their staff are interviewed and
quoted, all over the world.

By funding a large number of organisations, Exxon helps to create the
impression that doubt about climate change is widespread. For those who
do not understand that scientific findings cannot be trusted if they
have not appeared in peer-reviewed journals, the names of these
institutes help to suggest that serious researchers are challenging the
consensus.

This is not to claim that all the science these groups champion is
bogus. On the whole, they use selection, not invention. They will find
one contradictory study - such as the discovery of tropospheric
cooling, which, in a garbled form, has been used by Peter Hitchens in
the Mail on Sunday - and promote it relentlessly. They will continue to
do so long after it has been disproved by further work. So, for
example, John Christy, the author of the troposphere paper, admitted in
August 2005 that his figures were incorrect, yet his initial findings
are still being circulated and championed by many of these groups, as a
quick internet search will show you.

But they do not stop there. The chairman of a group called the Science
and Environmental Policy Project is Frederick Seitz. Seitz is a
physicist who in the 1960s was president of the US National Academy of
Sciences. In 1998, he wrote a document, known as the Oregon Petition,
which has been cited by almost every journalist who claims that climate
change is a myth.

The document reads as follows: "We urge the United States government to
reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan,
in December 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits
on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of
science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.
There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon
dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the
foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's
atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is
substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon
dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and
animal environments of the Earth."

Anyone with a degree was entitled to sign it. It was attached to a
letter written by Seitz, entitled Research Review of Global Warming
Evidence. The lead author of the "review" that followed Seitz's letter
is a Christian fundamentalist called Arthur B Robinson. He is not a
professional climate scientist. It was co-published by Robinson's
organisation - the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine - and an
outfit called the George C Marshall Institute, which has received
$630,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998. The other authors were Robinson's
22-year-old son and two employees of the George C Marshall Institute.
The chairman of the George C Marshall Institute was Frederick Seitz.

The paper maintained that: "We are living in an increasingly lush
environment of plants and animals as a result of the carbon dioxide
increase. Our children will enjoy an Earth with far more plant and
animal life than that with which we now are blessed. This is a
wonderful and unexpected gift from the Industrial Revolution."

It was printed in the font and format of the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences: the journal of the organisation of which
Seitz - as he had just reminded his correspondents - was once
president.

Soon after the petition was published, the National Academy of Sciences
released this statement: "The NAS Council would like to make it clear
that this petition has nothing to do with the National Academy of
Sciences and that the manuscript was not published in the Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences or in any other peer-reviewed
journal. The petition does not reflect the conclusions of expert
reports of the Academy."

But it was too late. Seitz, the Oregon Institute and the George C
Marshall Institute had already circulated tens of thousands of copies,
and the petition had established a major presence on the internet. Some
17,000 graduates signed it, the majority of whom had no background in
climate science. It has been repeatedly cited - by global-warming
sceptics such as David Bellamy, Melanie Phillips and others - as a
petition by climate scientists. It is promoted by the Exxon-sponsored
sites as evidence that there is no scientific consensus on climate
change.

All this is now well known to climate scientists and environmentalists.
But what I have discovered while researching this issue is that the
corporate funding of lobby groups denying that manmade climate change
is taking place was initiated not by Exxon, or by any other firm
directly involved in the fossil fuel industry. It was started by the
tobacco company Philip Morris.

In December 1992, the US Environmental Protection Agency published a
500-page report called Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking.
It found that "the widespread exposure to environmental tobacco smoke
(ETS) in the United States presents a serious and substantial public
health impact. In adults: ETS is a human lung carcinogen, responsible
for approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths annually in US non-smokers.
In children: ETS exposure is causally associated with an increased risk
of lower respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia.
This report estimates that 150,000 to 300,000 cases annually in infants
and young children up to 18 months of age are attributable to ETS."

Had it not been for the settlement of a major class action against the
tobacco companies in the US, we would never have been able to see what
happened next. But in 1998 they were forced to publish their internal
documents and post them on the internet.

Within two months of its publication, Philip Morris, the world's
biggest tobacco firm, had devised a strategy for dealing with the
passive-smoking report. In February 1993 Ellen Merlo, its senior
vice-president of corporate affairs, sent a letter to William I
Campbell, Philip Morris's chief executive officer and president,
explaining her intentions: "Our overriding objective is to discredit
the EPA report ... Concurrently, it is our objective to prevent states
and cities, as well as businesses, from passive-smoking bans."

To this end, she had hired a public relations company called APCO. She
had attached the advice it had given her. APCO warned that: "No matter
how strong the arguments, industry spokespeople are, in and of
themselves, not always credible or appropriate messengers."

So the fight against a ban on passive smoking had to be associated with
other people and other issues. Philip Morris, APCO said, needed to
create the impression of a "grassroots" movement - one that had been
formed spontaneously by concerned citizens to fight "overregulation".
It should portray the danger of tobacco smoke as just one "unfounded
fear" among others, such as concerns about pesticides and cellphones.
APCO proposed to set up "a national coalition intended to educate the
media, public officials and the public about the dangers of 'junk
science'. Coalition will address credibility of government's scientific
studies, risk-assessment techniques and misuse of tax dollars ... Upon
formation of Coalition, key leaders will begin media outreach, eg
editorial board tours, opinion articles, and brief elected officials in
selected states."

APCO would found the coalition, write its mission statements, and
"prepare and place opinion articles in key markets". For this it
required $150,000 for its own fees and $75,000 for the coalition's
costs.

By May 1993, as another memo from APCO to Philip Morris shows, the fake
citizens' group had a name: the Advancement of Sound Science Coalition.
It was important, further letters stated, "to ensure that TASSC has a
diverse group of contributors"; to "link the tobacco issue with other
more 'politically correct' products"; and to associate scientific
studies that cast smoking in a bad light with "broader questions about
government research and regulations" - such as "global warming",
"nuclear waste disposal" and "biotechnology". APCO would engage in the
"intensive recruitment of high-profile representatives from business
and industry, scientists, public officials, and other individuals
interested in promoting the use of sound science".

By September 1993, APCO had produced a "Plan for the Public Launching
of TASSC". The media launch would not take place in "Washington, DC or
the top media markets of the country. Rather, we suggest creating a
series of aggressive, decentralised launches in several targeted local
and regional markets across the country. This approach ... avoids
cynical reporters from major media: less reviewing/challenging of TASSC
messages."

The media coverage, the public relations company hoped, would enable
TASSC to "establish an image of a national grassroots coalition". In
case the media asked hostile questions, APCO circulated a sheet of
answers, drafted by Philip Morris. The first question was:

"Isn't it true that Philip Morris created TASSC to act as a front group
for it?

"A: No, not at all. As a large corporation, PM belongs to many
national, regional, and state business, public policy, and legislative
organisations. PM has contributed to TASSC, as we have with various
groups and corporations across the country."

There are clear similarities between the language used and the
approaches adopted by Philip Morris and by the organisations funded by
Exxon. The two lobbies use the same terms, which appear to have been
invented by Philip Morris's consultants. "Junk science" meant
peer-reviewed studies showing that smoking was linked to cancer and
other diseases. "Sound science" meant studies sponsored by the tobacco
industry suggesting that the link was inconclusive. Both lobbies
recognised that their best chance of avoiding regulation was to
challenge the scientific consensus. As a memo from the tobacco company
Brown and Williamson noted, "Doubt is our product since it is the best
means of competing with the 'body of fact' that exists in the mind of
the general public. It is also the means of establishing a
controversy." Both industries also sought to distance themselves from
their own campaigns, creating the impression that they were spontaneous
movements of professionals or ordinary citizens: the "grassroots".

But the connection goes further than that. TASSC, the "coalition"
created by Philip Morris, was the first and most important of the
corporate-funded organisations denying that climate change is taking
place. It has done more damage to the campaign to halt it than any
other body.

TASSC did as its founders at APCO suggested, and sought funding from
other sources. Between 2000 and 2002 it received $30,000 from Exxon.
The website it has financed - JunkScience.com - has been the main
entrepot for almost every kind of climate-change denial that has found
its way into the mainstream press. It equates environmentalists with
Nazis, communists and terrorists. It flings at us the accusations that
could justifably be levelled against itself: the website claims, for
example, that it is campaigning against "faulty scientific data and
analysis used to advance special and, often, hidden agendas". I have
lost count of the number of correspondents who, while questioning
manmade global warming, have pointed me there.

The man who runs it is called Steve Milloy. In 1992, he started working
for APCO - Philip Morris's consultants. While there, he set up the
JunkScience site. In March 1997, the documents show, he was appointed
TASSC's executive director. By 1998, as he explained in a memo to TASSC
board members, his JunkScience website was was being funded by TASSC.
Both he and the "coalition" continued to receive money from Philip
Morris. An internal document dated February 1998 reveals that TASSC
took $200,000 from the tobacco company in 1997. Philip Morris's 2001
budget document records a payment to Steven Milloy of $90,000. Altria,
Philip Morris's parent company, admits that Milloy was under contract
to the tobacco firm until at least the end of 2005.

He has done well. You can find his name attached to letters and
articles seeking to discredit passive-smoking studies all over the
internet and in the academic databases. He has even managed to reach
the British Medical Journal: I found a letter from him there which
claimed that the studies it had reported "do not bear out the
hypothesis that maternal smoking/ passive smoking increases cancer risk
among infants". TASSC paid him $126,000 in 2004 for 15 hours' work a
week. Two other organisations are registered at his address: the Free
Enterprise Education Institute and the Free Enterprise Action
Institute. They have received $10,000 and $50,000 respectively from
Exxon. The secretary of the Free Enterprise Action Institute is Thomas
Borelli. Borelli was the Philip Morris executive who oversaw the
payments to TASSC.

Milloy also writes a weekly Junk Science column for the Fox News
website. Without declaring his interests, he has used this column to
pour scorn on studies documenting the medical effects of second-hand
tobacco smoke and showing that climate change is taking place. Even
after Fox News was told about the money he had been receiving from
Philip Morris and Exxon, it continued to employ him, without informing
its readers about his interests.

TASSC's headed notepaper names an advisory board of eight people. Three
of them are listed by Exxonsecrets.org as working for organisations
taking money from Exxon. One of them is Frederick Seitz, the man who
wrote the Oregon Petition, and who chairs the Science and Environmental
Policy Project. In 1979, Seitz became a permanent consultant to the
tobacco company RJ Reynolds. He worked for the firm until at least
1987, for an annual fee of $65,000. He was in charge of deciding which
medical research projects the company should fund, and handed out
millions of dollars a year to American universities. The purpose of
this funding, a memo from the chairman of RJ Reynolds shows, was to
"refute the criticisms against cigarettes". An undated note in the
Philip Morris archive shows that it was planning a "Seitz symposium"
with the help of TASSC, in which Frederick Seitz would speak to "40-60
regulators".

The president of Seitz's Science and Environmental Policy Project is a
maverick environmental scientist called S Fred Singer. He has spent the
past few years refuting evidence for manmade climate change. It was he,
for example, who published the misleading claim that most of the
world's glaciers are advancing, which landed David Bellamy in so much
trouble when he repeated it last year. He also had connections with the
tobacco industry. In March 1993, APCO sent a memo to Ellen Merlo, the
vice-president of Philip Morris, who had just commissioned it to fight
the Environmental Protection Agency: "As you know, we have been working
with Dr Fred Singer and Dr Dwight Lee, who have authored articles on
junk science and indoor air quality (IAQ) respectively ..."

Singer's article, entitled Junk Science at the EPA, claimed that "the
latest 'crisis' - environmental tobacco smoke - has been widely
criticised as the most shocking distortion of scientific evidence yet".
He alleged that the Environmental Protection Agency had had to "rig the
numbers" in its report on passive smoking. This was the report that
Philip Morris and APCO had set out to discredit a month before Singer
wrote his article.

I have no evidence that Fred Singer or his organisation have taken
money from Philip Morris. But many of the other bodies that have been
sponsored by Exxon and have sought to repudiate climate change were
also funded by the tobacco company. Among them are some of the world's
best-known "thinktanks": the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Cato
Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Hudson Institute, the Frontiers
of Freedom Institute, the Reason Foundation and the Independent
Institute, as well as George Mason University's Law and Economics
Centre. I can't help wondering whether there is any aspect of
conservative thought in the United States that has not been formed and
funded by the corporations.

Until I came across this material, I believed that the accusations, the
insults and the taunts such people had slung at us environmentalists
were personal: that they really did hate us, and had found someone who
would pay to help them express those feelings. Now I realise that they
have simply transferred their skills.

While they have been most effective in the United States, the impacts
of the climate-change deniers sponsored by Exxon and Philip Morris have
been felt all over the world. I have seen their arguments endlessly
repeated in Australia, Canada, India, Russia and the UK. By dominating
the media debate on climate change during seven or eight critical years
in which urgent international talks should have been taking place, by
constantly seeding doubt about the science just as it should have been
most persuasive, they have justified the money their sponsors have
spent on them many times over. It is fair to say that the professional
denial industry has delayed effective global action on climate change
by years, just as it helped to delay action against the tobacco
companies.

\ufffd This is an edited extract from Heat, by George Monbiot, published by
Allen Lane

http://www.guardian.co.uk/climatechange/story/0,,1875760,00.html

=============

DON'T MOURN, ACT! WEBSITES FOR ACTION:

http://www.earthshare.org/get_involved/involved.html
http://www.greenhousenet.org/
http://www.solarcatalyst.com/
http://www.campaignearth.org/buy_green_nativeenergy.asp

Overview and local actions you can take: http://www.PostCarbon.org
=============

= = = =
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IS GIVING A FULL HONEST PICTURE OF WHAT'S GOING ON?
= = = =
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More news: UseNet's misc.activism.progressive (moderated)
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And http://EconomicDemocracy.org/ (general)

** Email Note: "info" and "map" etc DON'T work. Now:
econdemocracy(at)gmail



George Leroy Tyrebiter, Jr.
2006-09-20 09:48:49 EST
On 19 Sep 2006 10:25:39 -0700, claudiusdenk@sbcglobal.net wrote:

>
>*o@economicdemocracy.org wrote:
>> The denial industry
>>
>> For years, a network of fake citizens' groups and bogus scientific
>> bodies has been claiming that science of global warming is
>> inconclusive.
>
>It is.

Right. Just like the tobacco industry similarly got people like you to
say

the evidence that tobacco causes cancer is inconclusive

It works every time.

That's why they spend money to generate such bogus research - because
it causes people to resist the science.

They know they can't fool us forever - but a delay is worth a hell of
a lot of money.
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