The Parrot and the Igloo Notes
❖❖

Mark Mills

177   In 1991: Jeff Nesmith, “Utilities’ Ads Deny Coal Threatens Climate,” The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, May 25, 1991.

Bob von Sternberg, “Is Minneapolis Getting Warming? Utilities Group Has Chilling Message,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, May 12, 1991.

Electric Utility Week, “Dispute over Ad Campaign Underlines Utility Division on Global Warming,” June 3, 1991.

 

177   “creative strategy”: Greenwire, “Inside Track: Sowing Seeds of Doubt In the Greenhouse,” June 20, 1991.

 

177   “reposition global warming”: Ross Gelbspan, The Heat Is On: The High Stakes Battle over Earth’s Threatened Climate, Addison-Wesley 1997. Chapter Two, “The Battle For Control Over Reality,” 34

Naomi Oreskes, “My Facts Are Better Than Your Facts: Spreading Good News About Global Warming”: Collected in Peter Howlett, Mary S. Morgan, (Editors), How Well Do Facts Travel? The Dissemination of Reliable Knowledge, Cambridge University Press 2011. The paper has the quote as “Reposition global warming as theory (not fact).”

Matthew L. Wald, “Pro-Coal Ad Campaign Disputes Warming Idea,” The New York Times, July 8, 1991.

Sheldon Rampton, John Stauber, Trust Us, We’re Experts! How Industry Manipulates Science and Gambles With Your Future, Jeremy P. Tarcher | Penguin Putnam 2001. Chapter Ten, “Global Warming Is Good For You,” 272.

 

177   campaign was artful: Gelbspan: “The campaign was clever if not accurate.” Gelbspan, The Heat Is On, 34.

 

177   fit the letters ICE: Oreskes points out, “The campaign strategists decided on an acronym before they decided what it stood for—ICE.” Oreskes, “My Facts,” 2011.

Matthew L. Wald, “Pro-Coal Ad Campaign Disputes Warming Idea,” The New York Times, July 8, 1991. The firm was the “Massachusetts research organization” Cambridge Reports.

 

178   had an “activist” sound: Wald, New York Times. Other tries: Intelligent Concern for the Environment, Informed Choices for the Environment. Listed in Oreskes, “My Facts Are Better,” 2011.

 

178   “older, less-educated males”: Jeff Goodell, Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America’s Energy Future, Houghton Mifflin 2006. Chapter Eight, “Reversal of Fortune,” 181.

Sheldon Rampton, John Stauber, Trust Us, We’re Experts!, 272.

Oreskes, in “My Facts” has some additional detail on this selection bases. Experts knew their targets very well. The “ ‘older, less educated males’ were susceptible to impugning the motives of people talking about global warming, as in the suggestion that ‘the threat was being exaggerated by members of the media who wanted to increase their audience and influence.’” Underpaid women “were ‘receptive . . . to factual information,’ and ‘likely to soften their support for federal legislation [to stop global warming] after hearing new information.’” Oreskes, “My Facts.”

 

178   cities and broadcast markets with equal care: “During the spring and summer of 1991, print and radio advertisements bearing the ICE name and logo saturated the airwaves and local newspapers of the chosen American cities.” Oreskes, “My Facts,” 2011.

 

178   who served on the House Energy Committee: Jeff Goodell, Big Coal, 181. Gelbspan, The Heat Is On, 34.

 

178   a man and his snow shovel: The ad reproduced in the Times was Kentucky’s—showing a horse wearing earmuffs and a muffler, looking as if it’s got a dreary runny nose. It takes you a second. Ah: Kentucky; Kentucky Derby. Wald, “Pro-Coal Ad Campaign Disputes Warming Idea,” Times.

The Minneapolis shoveller wears a sad mustache and Holden Caufield ear-flaps. You can find it preserved behind internet glass at Climate Files, on the eleventh page.

Climate Files, “1991 Information Council on the Environment Climate Denial Ad Campaign.”

https://www.climatefiles.com/denial-groups/ice-ad-campaign/

Accessed 1-4-23.

Rush Limbaugh got in on the action, too. Paid radio:

 

Get real! Stop panicking! I’m here to tell you that the facts simply don’t jibe . . . Minneapolis has actually gotten colder.

 

David Helvarg, “The Greenhouse Spin: Energy Companies Try the ‘Tobacco’ Approach to Evidence of Global Warming,” The Nation, December 16, 1996.

 

178   Minneapolis had warmed: The Minneapolis Star Tribune pointed out you could measure it even across recent decades.

Bob von Sternberg, “Is Minneapolis Getting Warming? Utilities Group Has Chilling Message,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, May 12, 1991.

Gelbspan, The Heat Is On, 34

Oreskes, “My Facts,” 2011.

 

178   “Some say the earth is warming”: Greenwire, 1991.

James Hoggan, Richard Littlemore, Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming, Greystone Books 2009. Chapter Four, “The Age of Astroturfing: In Which Industry Steals Credibility from the People,” 32.

Hoggan adds the group’s stated aim was to “supply alternative facts to support the suggestion that global warming will be good.” Trivia note: an early appearance by that Trump-era usage, 25 years ahead of the curve.

 

178   “to be dealt with in a slick ad campaign”: Electric Utility Week, “Dispute over Ad Campaign Underlines Utility Division on Global Warming,” June 3, 1991.

Under the circumstances, a hero.

 

A campaign by two dozen utilities and energy-related associations to downplay the potential effects of global warming has been blasted by a utility president who said a ‘‘slick ad campaign’’ is an inappropriate response to the global climate change issue.

. . . But Mark De Michele, president and chief executive officer of Arizona Public Service, told Electric Utility Week that he declined to join ICE or participate in the campaign in Flagstaff because he had ‘‘significant concerns about the program.’’

‘‘I’m not sure it’s appropriate to deal with a subject such as global warming with what I would call a slick ad campaign,’’ De Michele said.

 

Becca Rothschild, “Global Warming Ad Campaign Termed Irresponsible,” The Arizona Daily Sun, May 24, 1991.

A few weeks later, De Michele became one of the nation’s first utility leaders to encourage congressional legislation on global warming. Keith White, “Tradeoff Plan Would Require Plants to Cut Gas Emissions,” USA Today, June 18, 1991. “ ‘Although I cannot speak for the entire electric utility industry, in concept I wholeheartedly support the proposed legislation,’ wrote De Michele.”

 

178   “Our industry cannot sit”: Greenwire, “Inside Track: Sowing Seeds of Doubt In the Greenhouse,” June 20, 1991.

 

178      “the future of fossil fuels”: Greenwire, “Inside Track: Sowing Seeds of Doubt In the Greenhouse,” June 20, 1991.

 

178      The group formed a Science Advisory Panel: Matthew L. Wald, “Pro-Coal Ad Campaign Disputes Warming Idea,” The New York Times, July 8, 1991.

This—recruitment—would become the standard offensive. This comes from a report by Western Fuels, one of the backers of the ICE program.

 

Western Fuels elaborated on its approach in another report: “When [the climate change] controversy first erupted at the peak of summer in 1988, Western Fuels Association decided it was important to take a stand . . . [S]cientists were found who are skeptical about much of what seemed generally accepted about the potential for climate change. Among there were Pat Michaels, Robert Balling of Arizona State University, and S. Fred Singer of the University of Virginia . . . Western Fuels approached Pat Michaels about writing a quarterly publication designed to provide its readers with critical insight concerning the global climatic change and greenhouse effect controversy . . . Western Fuels agreed to finance publication and distribution of World Climate Review magazine.”

 

Ross Gelbspan, The Heat Is On: The High Stakes Battle over Earth’s Threatened Climate, Addison-Wesley 1997. Chapter Two, “The Battle For Control Over Reality,” 36.

A few pages on, Gelbspan discusses the ultimate recruitment outcome.

 

The tiny group of dissenting scientists have been given prominent public visibility and congressional influence out of all proportion to their standing in the scientific community on the issue of global warming. They have used this platform to pound widely amplified drumbeats of doubt about climate change. These doubts are repeated in virtually every climate-related story in every newspaper and every TV and radio news outlet in the country.

 

Fine return on investment. Gelbspan, The Heat is On, 40.

 

178      located three scientists: The dogged and indispensable Naomi Oreskes: “An important part of the campaign”—any denial campaign—“was the construction of the impression that global warming was the subject of active scientific debate, so a crucial component was the use of scientists as spokesmen.”

Oreskes is a Professor of the History of Science at Harvard, and so presumably knows whereof she speaks. Oreskes, “My Facts Are Better Than Your Facts,” How Well Do Facts Travel?, 2011.

Oreskes adds, “In each case, the speakers suggested that no one really knew if global warming was a real problem, preparing the ground for the alternative suggestion that global warming was actually good.”

 

178      They didn’t want to be the only ones: Matthew L. Wald, “Pro-Coal Ad Campaign Disputes Warming Idea,” The New York Times, July 8, 1991.

 

178      In December of that year: Greenwire, “Inside Track: Sowing Seeds of Doubt In the Greenhouse,” June 20, 1991.

 

178      expenses paid by a trade group: The trade group being the “$400 million coal giant” (Gelbspan, Heat Is On, 36) Western Fuels Association.

Greenwire, “Inside Track: Sowing Seeds of Doubt In the Greenhouse,” June 20, 1991.

Deposition, S. Fred Singer v. Justin Lancaster, September 24, 1993. 220-21.

 

178      at a California hearing: Utility Environment Report, “Western Fuels Experts Attack CEC Proposal For Carbon Dioxide Penalty,” December 13, 1991.

 

178      named Mark Mills: Electric Utility Week, “Fuel Supply Co-Op Fights Coal-Use Penalty Proposed For California,” December 23, 1991.

 

178      an absorbing, rewarding, long-term gig: Goodell, Big Coal, 181.

 

179      about $200,000 from coal and oil: Ross Gelbspan, “The Heat Is On: The Warming of the World’s Climate Sparks A Blaze of Denial,” Harper’s Magazine, December 1995.

Ross Gelbspan, The Heat Is On: The High Stakes Battle over Earth’s Threatened Climate, Addison-Wesley 1997. Chapter Two, “The Battle For Control Over Reality,” 44-6.

 

179      “Actually,” he said, “I’ve received”: Steve Wilson, “Can We Take the Chance Global Warming Is A Sham?”, Arizona Republic, November 24, 1995.

 

179      from some coal-burning Colorado interests: Seth Borenstein, “Utilities Give Warming Skeptic Big Bucks,” Associated Press, July 27, 2006.

James Lawrence Powell, The Inquisition of Climate Science, Columbia University Press 2011. Chapter Seven, “Tobacco Tactics: The Scientist-Deniers,” 59.

Clayton Sandell, Bill Blakemore, “ABC News Reporting Cited As Evidence In Congressional Hearing On Global Warming: Making Money By Feeding Confusion Over Global Warming,” ABC News, July 27, 2006.

 

179      to cease identifying himself: Ross Gelbspan, “Pat Michaels Ousted as Virginia State Climatologist For Industry Funding,” Desmog, September 27, 2007.

https://www.desmog.com/2007/09/27/pat-michaels-ousted-as-virginia-state-climatologist-for-industry-funding/

Accessed 1-2-22.

Judd Legum, “Virginia Asks Global Warming Skeptic To Stop Calling Himself ‘State Climatologist,” Think Progress, August 21, 2006.

https://archive.is/z51R6

Accessed 1-2-22.

Media Matters Staff, “Rosen Falsely Identified Guest As ‘Virginia State Climatologist,’ Dispensed Numerous Global Warming Falsehoods,” Media Matters For America, April 3, 2007.

https://www.mediamatters.org/legacy/rosen-falsely-identified-guest-virginia-state-climatologist-dispensed-numerous-global

Accessed 1-2-22.

Juliet Ellperin and David A. Fahrenthold, “Va. Climatologist Drawing Heat From His Critics,” The Washington Post, September 17, 2006.

 

“He’s sort of one of the central figures in what I would call a disinformation campaign,” said Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. She added, “He says it’s a little bit, and it’s of no consequence . . . And it’s not a little bit, and it is of serious consequence.”

 

179      “some kid in a Phish t-shirt”: Meredith Goad, “Cadre of Skeptics Has Theory of Its Own,” The Maine Telegram, July 25, 1999.

 

179      just looking for an excuse”: Meredith Goad, “Cadre of Skeptics Has Theory of Its Own,” The Maine Telegram, July 25, 1999.

 

179      a notorious British anti-warming documentary: Martin Dunkin, The Great Global Warming Swindle, Chanel Four (Britain), 2007.

Andrew C. Revkin, “Climate Film Draws a Rebuke,” The New York Times, July 22, 2008.

 

A controversial British documentary called “The Great Global Warming Swindle” unfairly portrays several scientists and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Britain’s television watchdog agency ruled on Monday. . . . Since its release, the film has been widely circulated by opponents of restrictions on greenhouse gases and attacked by scientific groups and campaigners seeking action to curb such emissions. Criticism has been particularly sharp over the film’s assertions that the depiction of consensus on human-caused warming is a willful deception. In one particularly jarring line, a narrator says: “Everywhere you are told that man-made climate change is proved beyond doubt. But you are being told lies.”

 

There’s a copy on YouTube, for when your stomach feels strong:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYhCQv5tNsQ

Accessed 1-1-23.

And here’s Desmog.com on the Swindle, for a stomach in standard play mode. Kevin Grandia, “A Global Warming Swindle play-by-play,” Desmog, March 12, 2007.

https://www.desmog.com/2007/03/12/a-global-warming-swindle-play-by-play/

Accessed 1-1-23.

 

179      in Australia: Skeptic Patrick Michaels was imported by Australian denial group the Centre of Independent Studies, to help with local denial needs. Mark Colvin, “Climatologist Says Global Warming Is Slower Than Forecasts,” Australian Broadcasting Corporation, August 5, 2009. Michaels revealed the truth: “It’s nice and easy to blame global warming, when it’s actually probably your personal responsibility.”

 

179      “an adjunct professor”: Matthew L. Wald, “Pro-Coal Ad Campaign Disputes Warming Idea,” The New York Times, July 8, 1991.

 

179      In the early nineties, Dr. Idso was hired: Ross Gelbspan, The Heat Is On: The High Stakes Battle over Earth’s Threatened Climate, Addison-Wesley 1997. Chapter Two, “The Battle For Control Over Reality,” 36. “In its 1994 annual report, Western Fuels declared quite candidly that ‘there has been a close to universal impulse in the [fossil fuel] trade association community here in Washington to concede the scientific premise of global warming . . . We have disagreed, and do disagree, with this strategy.’”

 

179      “a game-ending kind of issue”: Frontline, “What’s Up with the Weather?”, PBS, April 25, 2000. Interview with Fred Palmer. (Here listed as Western Fuels President.)

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/warming/debate/palmer.html

Accessed 1-2-23.

 

179      “Fossil fuels” Palmer wrote: Western Fuels 1998 Association Annual Report.

Which includes such nuggets as “CO2 is vital” and “essential to our existence.” And “Human life began at a time when the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was much higher than it is today.” (Which we know from ice cores is absolutely untrue; the first have that icky thing of being sort of right, just inflated and used for an incorrect conclusion.)

 

[The] Kyoto Protocol would commit the US to a reduction in carbon dioxide emission levels to 7% below those in 1990 . . . For anyone to identify with this kind of policy suggests they believe fossil fuels pose a unique threat to the human community. We believe the contrary. Fossil fuels are a gift of the Creator. For the world community to reach our economic potential, fossil fuels will have to be utilized in much greater quantities throughout the world.

 

There’s a copy at Climate Files.

https://www.climatefiles.com/trade-group/1998-western-fuels-association-annual/

Accessed 1-2-22.

 

180      “under a preordained plan”: Jeff Goodell, Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America’s Energy Future, Houghton Mifflin 2006. Chapter Eight, “Reversal of Fortune,” 182.

“To Palmer, taking action on global warming was not so much a question of science as it was a question of faith. Why would the world have so much coal if we weren’t meant to burn it?”

At a 1998 Australian Coal Conference and Trade Exhibition, Palmer declared CO2 an “elixir” that was bringing about a “rebirth of the biosphere.”

Oreskes, “My Facts,” 2011.

 

180      a documentary telling the story their way: Ross Gelbspan, The Heat Is On: The High Stakes Battle over Earth’s Threatened Climate, Addison-Wesley 1997. Chapter Two, “The Battle For Control Over Reality,” 36.

“The video was shown extensively in Washington as well as in the capitals of the OPEC nations”; “Insiders at the Bush White House said it was Chief of Staff John Sununu’s favorite movie—he showed it that often.”

In The Nation, David Helvarg reports the video was also distributed to 1,000 U.S. journalists. Helvarg, “The Greenhouse Spin: Energy Companies Try the ‘Tobacco’ Approach to Evidence of Global Warming,” The Nation, December 16, 1996.

 

180      gardening and hiking reassurance message: Rolling Stone’s Jeff Goodell ranks it a kind of negative ideal. “The video is a modern classic of industrial PR, full of shots of dense forests and fertile fields, suggesting that burning coal is a good way of fertilizing the world’s flora.” Goodell, Big Coal, 181.

 

180      anything to do with vegetation: Naomi Oreskes in “My Facts” collects some in-movie testimonials.

“A better world. A more productive world.” “In terms of plant growth, it’s nothing but beneficial.” “For citrus, it would be a very positive thing.” “Our world will be a much better one.” Oreskes, “My Facts,” 2011.

 

180      “a tremendous greening of planet Earth”: The Greening of Planet Earth. Western Fuels Association, Inc, 1991.

There’s a copy at the Climate Files site.

https://www.climatefiles.com/trade-group/1992-western-fuels-greening-planet-earth/

Accessed 12-31-22.

 

180      The big winner turned out to be poison ivy: Wallace Broecker, Robert Kunzig, Fixing Climate: What Past Climate Changes Reveal About the Current Threat—and How To Counter It,” Hill and Wang | Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2008. Chapter Six, “Where the Carbon Goes,” 91–3.

 

So far, says Bill Schleisinger, the Duke geochemist who organized the experiment, it looks like the forest of the future “is one with pines growing slightly better, with a rank and lush understory of poison ivy.”

. . . The forestwide average masks a wide range of effects on different planet species. Poison ivy has benefited the most from the extra CO2, growing 77 percent faster.

 

180      I believe that the worst thing”: Electric Utility Week, “Western Fuels: Higher CO2 Levels Would Be A Benefit, Not A Threat,” October 21, 1991.

 

180      the movie spawned a sequel: The Greening of Planet Earth Continues. Western Fuels Association, Inc, 1998.

There’s a copy, along with a transcript of risible predictions (“The evidence that [rising CO2] is doing a good thing,” says skeptic Pat Michaels, “is somewhere between large and overwhelming”), at the Climate Files site.

Climate Files, “1998 Western Fuels Association ‘The Greening of Planet Earth Continues.’”

https://www.climatefiles.com/trade-group/1998-western-fuels-greening-planet-earth-continues/

Accessed 12-31-22.

 

180      the Greening Earth Society: Oreskes notes a funny thing—and you’ll see this macro strategy applied in miniature a few pages along. “The Western Fuels Association now created a new organization, The Greening Earth Society (although their office address was the same as that of Western Fuels, and the president of the board of director was [Western Fuels’] Fred Palmer).” Oreskes, “My Facts.”

 

180      Among the society’s science advisors: Desmog.Com, “Greening Earth Society.”

https://www.desmog.com/greening-earth-society/

Accessed 12-31-22.

 

180      In 1998, the industry shipped a Greening copy: Kitta MacPherson, “Warming Trend Has Doubters,” The Star-Ledger, August 1, 1999. “Its ‘Greening of Planet Earth’ videos, encased in white plastic adorned by a photo of a wide-eyed chimpanzee perched among super-green jungle foliage, were shipped last year to every member of Congress.”

If you’d like to check some of the (risible) Greening Earth Society merch, it’s preserved at Climate Files. Coal-fired power plants are as “natural as breathing.” And “our message is that CO2 is required for life on earth and that the earth is actually getting greener thanks to increasing CO2 levels.” Someone might in return send the Society a copy of the unsettling David Wallace-Wells book The Uninhabitable Earth.

Climate Files, “1998 Greening Earth Society Promotional Material.”

https://www.climatefiles.com/trade-group/1998-greening-earth-society/

Accessed 12-31-22.

And if you’d like to examine a particular piece of denial kitsch, there’s this: Climate Files, “1998 Greening Earth Society Report ‘The CO2 Issue.’”

https://www.climatefiles.com/trade-group/1998-greening-earth-society-co2/

Accessed 12-31-22.

 

180      to every: Free copies were additionally sent to (and shelved by) libraries.

 

[Western Fuels] delivered hundreds of copies for free to public and university libraries across the country. As Naomi Oreskes reports in her fabulous podcast at smartenergyshow.com, “You can Argue with the Facts,” the overworked librarians at the University of Oregon took this gift at face value, filing it with the description that the Western Fuels Association had provided: “An enlightening documentary that examines one of the most misunderstood environmental phenomena of the 1980s.”

 

James Hoggan, Richard Littlemore, Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming, Greystone Books 2009. Chapter Four, “The Age of Astroturfing: In Which Industry Steals Credibility From the People,” 32.

A few years prior, as above, David Helvarg reported that the video had been shipped to one thousand American journalists.

Helvarg, “The Greenhouse Spin,” The Nation, 1996.

 

180      The video arrived in a sleeve: Kitta MacPherson, “Warming Trend Has Doubters,” The Star-Ledger, August 1, 1999.

 

181      just how intimate, how homey: Or how effective. Ross Gelbspan was writing in a Harper’s cover story four years later, “By keeping the discussion focused on whether there is a problem in the first place, they have effectively silenced the debate over what to do about it.”

Ross Gelbspan, “The Heat Is On: The Warming of the World’s Climate Sparks A Blaze of Denial,” Harper’s Magazine, December 1995.

 

181      “My wife”: United States Senate, Global Change Research: Global Warming and the Biosphere, Hearing Before the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation United States Senate, One Hundred Second Congress, Second Session, April 9, 1992. Government Printing Office, 1992.

“The public has been exposed to one version of this,” Gore told Idso. “It is your view that has been broadcast to the public quite extensively, and yet the prevailing view on these questions in the scientific community has not been.”

Ted Koppel, “Is Science For Sale?”, Nightline, ABC News, February 24, 1994.

 

181      in 1995 he wrote an exposé: Ross Gelbspan, “The Heat Is On: The Warming of the World’s Climate Sparks A Blaze of Denial,” Harper’s Magazine, December 1995.

 

181      “massive campaign of deception”: David Brancaccio, “Hot World — Cold Comfort — The Politics of Climate Change,” Now, PBS, April 22, 2005.

https://www.shoppbs.pbs.org/now/transcript/transcriptNOW116_full.html

Accessed 12-31-22.

 

181      “The goal was simply”: Mark Hertsgaard, “While Washington Slept,” Vanity Fair, May 1, 2006.

 

181      half a decade later, with the science firming: Karen Breslau, Lucy Shackelford, “Running on Fumes,” Newsweek, December 8, 1997.

 

181      “When the public hears”: Mark Hertsgaard, “While Washington Slept,” Vanity Fair, May 1, 2006.

 

182      “It sowed confusion and doubt”: Ben Block, “A Look Back At James Hansen’s Seminal Testimony On Climate, Part Three,” Grist, June 20, 2008.

“During the 1990s,” Brock explains, industry “managed to reshape media coverage of human-induced climate change from fact into theory by recruiting a handful of skeptical scientists who were paid to speak with the press and public.”

https://grist.org/article/a-climate-hero-an-outspoken-truth/

Accessed 12-31-22.

 

182      a “virtual certainty”: Philip Shabecoff, “Team of Scientists Sees Substantial Warming of Earth,” The New York Times, April 16, 1990.

 

182      “it’s hard to find a climatologist”: Karen Wright, “Heating the Global Warming Debate,” The New York Times Magazine, February 3, 1991.

 

182      flipping from “skeptic to convert”: Gregg Easterbrook, “Finally Feeling the Heat,” The New York Times, May 24, 2006. The poll became public in February 1992.

 

182      “The sky is not falling”: Mobil Oil, “The Sky Is Not Falling (Ad),” The New York Times, September 28, 1995. “Mobil ads,” as Ross Gelbspan writes in The Heat Is On, “eye-catchingly conspicuous on the New York Times op-ed page.” Gelbspan, The Heat Is On, 33.

 

182      “A 1992 survey”: Gregg Easterbrook, “Finally Feeling the Heat,” The New York Times, May 24, 2006.

 

183      “the Center for Science, Technology and Media”: Federal News Service, “News Conference With the Center For Science Technology and Media Re: Uncertainty Over Global Warming, National Press Club, Washington, D.C.,” February 13, 1992.

Center for Science, Technology, and Media, “Experts Express Uncertainty Over Global Warming,” February 13, 1992.

 

183      hearings in the House: United States House of Representatives, U.S. Global Change Research Program, Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Environment of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, One Hundred and Second Congress, Second Session, May 5, 1992. U.S. Government Printing Office 1992. The number was quoted by Representative Don Ritter (R), Pennsylvania, ranking member of the subcommittee.

 

183      and Senate: United States Senate, Global Climate Change. Hearings Before the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, One Hundred Second Congress, Second Session, May 6 and 12, 1992.

United States Senate, Hearings on the Science and Energy Policy Implications of Global Climate Change and International Agreements Regarding Greenhouse Gas Emissions, 102nd Congress, May 6 and 12, 1992. U.S. Government Printing Office, 1992. It was quoted by Senator Malcolm Wallop (R), Wyoming, the ranking minority member of the committee.

 

183      “The jury’s still out”: Catherine Crier, Jane Chastain, Guest, “The Environmental President Loses Face,” Crier & Company, CNN, June 15, 1992.

 

183      “a problem that the experts”: Electric Utility Week, “Doe’s Stuntz, In Campaign Mode, Hits Gore On Carbon Tax, Global Warming,” September 21, 1992.

 

183      the Cato Institute: Richard Lindzen, “Global Warming: The Origin and Nature of the Alleged Scientific Consensus,” Cato Review of Business and Government, Spring 1992. “Indeed, a recent Gallup poll of climate scientists in the American Meteorological Society and in the American Geophysical Union shows that a vast majority doubts . . .”

It also ran in Brent Bozell’s influential Media Research Center publication, MediaWatch. MediaWatch, “Save the Planet, Slant the News,” June 1992.

http://archive.mrc.org/mediawatch/1992/watch19920601.asp

Accessed 12-20-22.

Five years later, the Media Research Center would repackage the story, calling that 1992 survey a “recent Gallup poll.”

 

183      the Washington Times: Patrick Michaels, “Environmental Leap Into the Identity Void; ‘Data Don’t Matter,’” The Washington Times, April 24, 1992.

“Note, however, last month’s Gallup Poll of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union, in which roughly two-thirds of the sampled membership of these two societies felt our century’s warming was not attributable to an enhanced greenhouse effect, which is obvious on the accompanying graphs.”

Jonathan Adler, “A Greenhouse Road To Serfdom,” The Washington Times, March 9, 1992.

 

183      the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: S. Fred Singer, “Warming Theories Need Warning Label,” The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, June 1992.

S. Fred Singer was one of the last ozone holdouts; he would become perhaps the most visible and successful climate denier in history.

“A November 1991 Gallup poll of 400 members of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union (actively involved in global climate research) responded to the question,” Singer writes. “The poll found that only 19 percent believed that human-induced global warming has occurred.”

 

183      In September, the National Review: Ronald Bailey, “Captain Planet For Veep,” National Review, September 14, 1992. “. . . leaving only 17 per cent who believe global warming has begun.”

 

183      George Will, who put it in his column: George Will, “Al Gore’s Green Guilt,” The Washington Post, September 3, 1992.

 

183      “only 17 percent are devotees”: Leonie Haimson, Michael Oppenheimer, David Wilcove, The Way Things Really Are: Debunking Rush Limbaugh on the Environment, Environmental Defense Fund 1994, 6.

Rush Limbaugh, See, I Told You So, Atria 1993. Chapter 13, “Al Gore: Technology Czar,” 162-3.

 

183      “This poll has been quoted”: Leonie Haimson, Michael Oppenheimer, David Wilcove, The Way Things Really Are: Debunking Rush Limbaugh on the Environment, Environmental Defense Fund 1994, 14.

Environmental Defense Fund, “Environmental Defense Fund Report Documents Limbaugh’s Errors,” November 29, 1994.

https://www.edf.org/news/environmental-defense-fund-report-documents-limbaughs-errors

Accessed 12-20-22.

 

183      “so many times”: Gregg Easterbrook includes it in his book, A Moment on the Earth. Which the Defense Fund in due course had to also debunk. Gregg Easterbrook, A Moment on the Earth: The Coming Age of Environmental Optimism, Viking Penguin 1995. Chapter 17, “Climate II: Global Warmth,” 278.

As Easterbrook quotes the poll, you can see the effect. This is the official opinion of “the two professional groups for climatologists.”

 

Yet much as the greenhouse effect exists in the popular imagination, there is no scientific consensus on whether it has manifested in “the laboratory of nature.” In February 1992 the Gallup Organization polled members of the American Geophysical Union and American Meteorological Society, the two professional groups for climatologists. Only 17 percent said warming trends so far convinced them an artificial greenhouse effect was in progress.

 

Michael Oppenheimer, David S. Wilcove, Michael J. Bean, A Moment Of Truth: Correcting the Scientific Errors In Gregg Easterbrook’s A Moment On The Earth, Part One, Environmental Defense Fund 1995.

That “Part One,” says a good deal; and the Easterbrook book was 750 pages long.

 

183      “of the environmental backlash”: Leonie Haimson, Michael Oppenheimer, David Wilcove, The Way Things Really Are: Debunking Rush Limbaugh on the Environment, Environmental Defense Fund 1994. Environmental Defense Fund, “Environmental Defense Fund Report Documents Limbaugh’s Errors,” November 29, 1994, 14.

And the environmental backlash was so strong Easterbrook could publish his good news promise even in The New Yorker. This gives a fine sense of the mid-1990s vibe—and how difficult convincing the world of climate change had become. Here’s the finish to Easterbrook’s New Yorker piece. “In the West, environmental protection is the leading postwar triumph of progressive government. Because of this, the notion of impending doomsday is about to expire. We are about to become environmental optimists.” The climate scientists, the governments providing funding, the IPCC, the journalists and policymakers who read the IPCC, the civilians who watched and read and forwarded and shared the news, we all turn out to have been outliers.

Gregg Easterbrook, “Here Comes the Sun,” The New Yorker, April 10, 1995.

 

183      It tried to take back the number: Harold Gilliam, “Where On Earth Do The Candidates Stand,” The San Francisco Chronicle, September 27, 1992.

 

183      Gallup made a public statement: Steve Rendall, “The Hypocrisy of George Will,” Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, FAIR.Org, September 1, 2003. “Gallup took the unusual step of issuing a written correction,” Rendall notes.

https://fair.org/extra/the-hypocrisy-of-george-will/

Accessed 12-31-22.

Ron Nixon, “Limbaughesque Science,” Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, FAIR.Org, July 1, 1995.

https://fair.org/extra/limbaughesque-science/

Accessed 12-31-22.

James Lawrence Powell, The Inquisition of Climate Science, Columbia University Press 2011. Chapter Three, “The Evidence for Consensus,” 31. “Gallup had to correct Will’s mistaken claim, saying, ‘Most scientists involved in research in this area believe that human-induced global warming is occurring now.’”

 

183      “Most scientists involved”: Harold Gilliam, “Where On Earth Do The Candidates Stand,” The San Francisco Chronicle, September 27, 1992.

 

183      To papers in the Northwest: John Carlson, “Hollywood Hyperbole On A Global Scale,” The Seattle Times, April 20, 1993.

John Shales (Executive Director, Global Climate Coalition), “Global Warming: P-I Misunderstands Climate Change,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 13, 1993.

Michelle Malkin, “Getting Hot and Bothered Over Global-Warming Hype,” The Seattle Times, July 16, 1996.

 

183      Midwest: James Lis, Kenneth Chilton, “Environmental Plans Could Spell Disaster,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri), January 3, 1993.

Noel Grove, National Geographic News Service, “Warming Theory Jury Is Still Out,” Wisconsin State Journal, August 21, 1992.

And if you hung around another twelve years, Rod Blum, “Double Take: Has President Bush’s Record on International Organizations and Treaties Benefited the United States?; President Has An Obligation To Put U.S. Interests First,” Telegraph Herald (Dubuque, Iowa), October 3, 2004. “Adding insult to injury, according to a Gallup Poll only 17 percent of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union believe greenhouse gases are overheating the planet. Not participating in [the Kyoto Protocol] this flawed treaty was the right thing to do for Americans.”

 

184      Southwest: Anne Morris; Jack Newkirk, “Crisis? What Crisis? Nonprofit Group’s Book Urges,” Austin American-Statesman, May 24, 1994.

And, five years later: Charles Whitaker, “Chicken Little Has Overheated Imagination,” The Dallas Morning News, October 9, 1999. The poll at this point was eight years old. “Most scientists who study the weather and the Earth agree: A Gallup survey showed that only 17 percent of the members of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Society [sic] believe the warming of the 20 century is the result of human activity.”

 

184      Northeast: Francis Mancini, “The Hot Air Of Global Warming,” Providence Journal-Bulletin, February 18, 1993.

 

184      Capitol: H. Sterling Burnett, “The Mythology of Global Warming,” The Washington Times, June 13, 1997.

 

184      USA Today: Patrick Cox, “Don’t Trash The Economy,” USA Today, October 21, 1993.      

 

184      the Christian Science Monitor: Doug Bandow, “End Environmental Extremism,” The Christian Science Monitor, January 29, 1993.

 

184      Canada: Western Report, “CO2 Sucker-Punch: Alberta’s Economy Will Be Devastated If Ottawa Accedes To Climate Calamitists,” August 5, 1996. (“ . . . just 19% believe that the trend is the result of anthropogenic greenhouse emissions.”)

Laura Jones, “Environmentalists Overlooking Scientific Facts,” The Vancouver Sun, July 9, 1997. “Even scientists don’t buy it. In a Gallup poll of the Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Society [sic], 83 per cent of scientists did not think human actions . . .”

Laura Jones, “Good Grades For Earth Day,” The Ottawa Citizen, April 21, 1998.

It proved consistently popular up north. A decade later: Lawrence Solomon, “They Call This A Consensus?”, National Post (Canada), June 2, 2007.

Canada has organized denial groups, just like us. Where the number also demonstrated its charisma. Laura Jones, spreading the word above via the Vancouver Sun, was a Fraser Institute environmental economist. And there’s the below.

Canadian Corporate Newswire, “The Fraser Institute: Top 10 Reasons to Celebrate Earth Day,” April 21, 1998. At reason number six: “Scientists Do Not Agree that there is a Global Warming Crisis.” And the Institute (which is based in Vancouver) lists only one devastating fact:

 

According to a 1992 Gallup poll of members of the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society (the two professional societies whose members are most likely to be involved in climate research), only 18 percent thought some global warming had occurred.

 

184      the U.K.: The Herald (Glasgow, Scotland), “Not A Disaster,” July 13, 1996.

 

184      New Zealand: The Dominion Post (Wellington, New Zealand), “Global Warming,” December 21, 1995.

 

184      and labeled it “a recent Gallup poll”: Donald M. Rothberg, “Global Warming Debate Generates Much Heat: An AP News Analysis,” December 8, 1997. The group was The Media Research Center; it’s run by Brent Bozell, who also created the news site CNSNews.com.

One reason for the Number’s reuse: The world’s climate negotiators were gathering in Japan that year to hammer out the first international carbon dioxide treaty, the Kyoto Protocol.

 

184      the number took off on another tour: David Corn, “White House vs. Greenhouse: Will the President Listen To Industry’s Hot Air on the Global-Warming Treaty?”, The Nation, October 13, 1997.

 

Did you know that according to a recent Gallup poll a whopping majority—83 percent—of the members of the Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Society do not believe in global warming? Well, if you’ve been reading The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Detroit News, The Wall Street Journal, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Arizona Republic, The New York Times or the Chicago Tribune in recent months, you would have come across this factoid, and you then might have wondered what the fuss over climate change is all about. After all, if the members of prestigious scientific outfits see no evidence of global warming, why is President Clinton fretting over what to do at an international gathering scheduled for December in Kyoto, Japan, designed to finalize a treaty to limit emissions that cause global warming?

 

Editorial, “Cool Heads, Warm Planet,” Providence Journal-Bulletin, December 7, 1997.

 

184      Wall Street Journal: Henry S. Rowen, John P. Weyant, “The Greenhouse Follies,” The Wall Street Journal, December 2, 1997. The Wall Street Journal, “Hot News,” December 2, 1997.

This one—the Journal’s reach being especially wide—bothered Gallup enough to write the paper directly.

Harry E. Cotugno (Vice President, The Gallup Organization), “Letters to the Editor: Gallup Study Figures On Greenhouse Effect,” The Wall Street Journal, December 18, 1997.

 

Your Dec. 2 editorial-page commentary “The Greenhouse Follies” cited a Gallup study of scientists’ opinions on the issue of global warming. The statements made about that study are misleading and inaccurate. The study is not “a recent Gallup poll,” but a study conducted by the Gallup organization for the Center for Science, Technology and Media in 1991 . . . What the article failed to report was the response to the question that followed the above two, i.e., “In your opinion is human-induced greenhouse warming now occurring?” Sixty-six percent of all scientists surveyed said, “yes.”

 

National Journal, “Climate Change III: How’s It Playing On Editorial Pages?”, December 18, 1997. “Gallup Organization V.P. Harry Cotugno, in a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal, corrects a 12/2 newspaper editorial that had cited a ‘recent’ Gallup poll. According to the poll, which was conducted in 1991, 66% of all scientists surveyed agreed that global warming is occurring . . . .”

 

184      Bismarck Tribune: Margaret Sitte, “United Nations — Our Unelected World Government,” Bismarck Tribune (North Dakota), December 5, 1997.

 

184      Kansas City Star: Jerry Heaster, “Don’t Buy Long-Term Forecast,” The Kansas City Star, December 6, 1997. “Only 17 percent of the members of the . . .”

 

184      Detroit News: David Corn, “White House vs. Greenhouse: Will the President Listen To Industry’s Hot Air on the Global-Warming Treaty?”, The Nation, October 13, 1997.

 

184      Denver Post: Mike Rosen, “Global Warming Is Hot Air,” The Denver Post, December 12, 1997. “When members of the Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Society were asked in a Gallup poll whether they thought human actions are causing global warming, only 17 percent agreed.”

 

184      Florida Times-Union: Florida Times-Union, “Environment; Doubting Doom,” December 5, 1997.

 

184      from the Orange County Register: Editorial, “Global Warming Conference Reports Up In The Air In Kyoto,” The Orange County Register, December 2, 1997.

 

184      to the Boston Globe: Jeff Jacoby, “Global warming: Globaloney?”, The Boston Globe, December 2, 1997.

 

184      the Wall Street Journal editorial board reran the number: The Wall Street Journal, “Hot News,” December 2, 1997. A squidgy datum like the Number will tend to experience some degradation. What the Wall Street Journal actually printed was “only 19% of the members of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union . . . ”

 

184      Gallup issued another correction: Donald M. Rothberg. “Global Warming Debate Generates Much Heat,” Associated Press, December 8, 1997.

Donald M. Rothberg. “Global Warming Debate Overheats,” Associated Press, December 8, 1997.

 

184      five separate global warming hearings: The Kyoto Protocol: Is the Clinton-Gore Administration Selling Out Americas? Parts I-IV, Hearings Before the Subcommittee on National Economic Growth, National Resources, and Regulatory Affairs of the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, United States House of Representatives, 105th Congress, April 23; May 19 and 20; June 24; July 15; and September 16, 1998. U.S. Government Printing Office 1998. First Session, April 23, 1998.

“Good afternoon. I am State Senator Bill Walaska of Rhode Island, where I sit on the Joint Environment and Energy Committee . . . While I am not a scientist, I do know that a Gallup survey of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Society found that only 17% of their members believe that any warming is the result of human activity.”

 

Federal Document Clearing House Congressional Testimony, “Testimony June 4, 1998; Raymond J. Keating, Chief Economist, Small Business Survival Committee; House Small Business Committee, Economic Impact Of Kyoto Protocol on Small Business,” United States House of Representatives, Second Session, June 4, 1998.

“A recent Gallup Poll of members of the American Geophysical Society and the Meteorological Society found that just 17 percent believe that greenhouse-gas emission have been responsible for global warming.”

 

Federal Document Clearing House Political Transcripts, “Holds Hearing on the Effects of the Kyoto Environmental Protocol on American Prosperity — Part Two, the Science,” United States House of Representatives, Small Business Committee, July 29, 1998.

 

U.S. House of Representatives, Energy Security: What Will the New Millennium Bring?, Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Energy and Power, Committee on Commerce, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fifth Congress, Second Session, October 2, 1998. U.S. Government Printing Office, 1998.

The statement of Rep. Daniel Schaefer, Colorado (R), Subcommittee Chair:

 

I recently read a book “A Moment on the Earth,” which was written by Gregg Easterbrook, who is an environmental writer for Newsweek and some other periodicals. And in his book, he said that in February 1992, the Gallup organization polled members of the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society, the two professional groups for climatologists and that only 17 percent of those said warming trends, so far, convinced them that an artificial greenhouse effect was in progress.”

 

United States Senate, Credit for Early Reduction Act, Hearings Before the Committee on Environment and Public Works, United States Senate, One Hundred Sixth Congress, First Session, March 24, 1999. U.S. Government Printing Office 1999.

This was “S. 547, A Bill to Authorize the President to Enter into Agreements to Provide Regulatory Credit for Voluntary Early Action to Mitigate Potential Environmental Impacts From Greenhouse Gas Emissions.”

 

184      “The truth is, there is great uncertainty”: John Ashcroft, “Forget Saddam, We’ll Fight the Weather,” The Washington Times, January 2, 1998. At the time, Ashcroft was a Republican senator from Missouri. “The truth is that there is great uncertainty among scientists about human-induced global climate change,” the Republican senator writes. “For example, only 19 percent of the members of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union believe that climate change in this century is due to greenhouse emissions.”

 

184      “It is not certain”: U.S. Newswire, “RNC Chairman Says Clinton/Gore Should Send Kyoto Treaty to Congress,” December 12, 1997. This was RNC Chairman Jim Nicholson. “Nicholson pointed out that only 19 percent of the members of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union believe greenhouse gasses are overheating the planet, according to a Gallup Poll.”

U.S. Newswire, “RNC Chairman Calls Clinton, Gore to Release Kyoto Papers,” May 14, 1998. “Furthermore,” Nicholson explained, “only 19 percent of members of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union say ‘greenhouse gasses’ are . . .”

 

184      Approaching the turn of the century: The number had become so ubiquitous it even occupied a pew in Anglican Journal—the publication of Canada’s Anglican church. Ian Ritchie, “The Virgin and the Dynamo: Use and Abuse of Religion in Environmental Debate,” Anglican Journal, May 2000. “He says, ‘A now-famous poll of members of the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society. . . ’”

 

184      the American Petroleum Institute: Frank Tivnan, “Sense, Not Hyperbole, On Global Warming,” The Boston Globe, December 18, 1999. “Frank Tivnan Is Executive Director Of The Massachusetts Petroleum Council, a Division of the American Petroleum Institute.”

The American Petroleum Institute had jumped on the number early. This is the report of a speech by the outgoing API Chairman, C.J. (Pete) Silas, November 1993. (Pete) Silas was also CEO of Phillips Petroleum. The story is about API’s annual conference, held that fall in Chicago.

 

The most extreme environmentalists advocate return to a subsistence economy that Silas likened to the Stone Age.

He said, “We need to do every thing we can to convince Washington and the courts to avoid policies that force the industry to waste scarce capital on the wrong solutions to the wrong problems. That won’t be easy.”

He cited a March 1992 Gallup poll in which only 17% of climatologists said they believe human induced global warming has occurred.

 

Oil & Gas Journal, “API Focuses On Cleanliness, Economics of Fossil Fuels,” November 15, 1993.

 

185      When the number ran a second time: Roger Larson, “Unnatural Warming,” Providence Journal-Bulletin, December 15, 1997.

Larson was a professor of geophysics at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography.

The paper, not knowing what to make of it, did what a newspaper will: quoted the authoritative source. This was the strategic beauty of retaining Gallup in the first place.

 

Editor’s note: The 19 percent figure came from a 1991-1992 poll conducted by the Gallup organization of 400 randomly selected climate scientists from the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society. Gallup was hired by the Center for Science, Technology and Media to conduct the poll.

 

185      The geophysicists went first: The current American Meteorological Society statement can be read here: American Meteorological Society, “AMS and Climate Change.”

The first line is one of those deliberate interpretation prohibitors: “Humans are causing climate to change and it poses numerous serious risks.”

And the third line makes the reader seize up with anxiety. “Based on our current path, a child who is born today would, at age 30, breathe air with roughly twice as much carbon dioxide as her great, great grandparents.”

https://www.ametsoc.org/ams/index.cfm/about-ams/ams-and-climate-change/

Accessed 12-20-22.

The earlier statements (the first offered in February 2003) can be found here: American Meteorological Society, “Archive Statements of the AMS.”

https://www.ametsoc.org/index.cfm/ams/about-ams/ams-statements/archive-statements-of-the-ams/

Accessed 12-20-22.

 

185      The Geophysical Union later revised: Andrew C. Revkin, “Earth Scientists Express Rising Concern Over Warming,” January 24, 2008.

“The American Geophysical Union, the world’s largest organization representing earth and space scientists, put out a fresh statement on the causes and consequences of recent climate change and possible responses.”

https://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/01/24/earth-scientists-express-rising-concern-over-warming/

Accessed 12-20-22.

The AGU continued to revise and reduce, purging ambiguities—most recently in November 2019—until the statement became airtight. American Geophysical Union, “Position Statement on Climate Change: Society Must Address the Growing Climate Crisis Now,” November 2019.

https://www.agu.org/Share-and-Advocate/Share/Policymakers/Position-Statements/Position_Climate

Accessed 12-20-22.

 

185      that number was 19 out of 20: Brady Dennis, Andrew Freedman, John Muyskens, “2019 Capped World’s Hottest Decade In Recorded History: It also marked the second-warmest year ever. ‘What happens in the future is really up to us,’ one scientist said,” The Washington Post, January 15, 2020.

 

185      in Canada, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Palm Springs: Harvey Leifert, Public Information Manager, American Geophysical Union, “Belief in Global Warming on Rise,” The Vancouver Sun (British Columbia), September 2, 2000.

Harvey Leifert, Public Information Manager, American Geophysical Union, “Letters: Scientists Believe It,The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania), July 12, 2001.

Harvey Leifert, Public Information Manager, American Geophysical Union, “Letters To The Editor; Climate Change: Gore’s Film Stirs Debate,” The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon), June 23, 2006.

Harvey Leifert, Public Information Manager, American Geophysical Union, “Letters to the Editor,” The Desert Sun (Palm Springs, CA), May 12, 2005.

 

185      “This survey is frequently misrepresented”: Harvey Leifert, Public Information Manager, American Geophysical Union, “Letters To The Editor,” The San Francisco Chronicle, June 17, 2006.

 

185      “The survey (not a ‘Gallup Poll’)”: Harvey Leifert, Public Information Manager, American Geophysical Union, “Letters to the Editor,” The Desert Sun (Palm Springs, CA), May 12, 2005.

 

186      “The actual position”: Harvey Leifert, Public Information Manager, American Geophysical Union, “Letters To The Editor,” The San Francisco Chronicle, June 17, 2006.

 

186      “the largest-circulation English-language daily in Bangladesh”: Mohammad Mozahidur Rahaman, “The Price We Pay for the Crimes of the Rich,” The Daily Star (Bangladesh), December 29, 2004. Just under the 2004 wire.

 

186      popping up on both coasts: Gregg Easterbrook, “Finally Feeling the Heat,” The New York Times, May 24, 2006.

Debra J. Saunders, “Global Warming Fever,” The San Francisco Chronicle, June 13, 2006. “A 1992 survey found that a mere 17 percent of members of the American Geophysical Union and American Meteorological Society believed in greenhouse-gas climate change,” Saunders explains. “There are a number of well-known scientists who don’t believe that global warming is human-induced.”

 

186      was again debunking it: James Wolcott, “Rush To Judgment: Attacking Environmentalists As Hippie-Dip ‘Wackos’ Who Care More About Spotted Owls Than People and Use Polar Bears For Propaganda, Rush Limbaugh Has Blinded Millions Of Americans to the Climate Crisis,” Vanity Fair, May 2007.

 

186      barnstorming through the smaller markets: Terry Sullivan, “Point Taken: Orthodoxy, Not Proven Fact,” The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky), February 4, 2007.

Rip Rinehart, “Readers Forum: The Science of Climate Change,” The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky), February 7, 2007.

Carl D. Keener, “Global Warming and Gil Smart,” The Sunday News (Lancaster, Pennsylvania), February 18, 2007.

And, a year later, over in the Keystone State capitol: Harold A. Buch Jr., “There’s No Runaway Climate Change,” The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania), March 4, 2008. Buch’s closing argument: “A Gallup survey indicated only 17 percent of the members of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Society thought the warming of the twentieth century was the result of an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.” The number was as of that March both incorrect and 17 years out of date.

Dianne Brady, “News From the Front Porch,” The Augusta Chronicle (Georgia), November 28, 2007.

 

186      You could also find it: Marianne Lavelle, “Survey Tracks Scientists’ Growing Climate Concern,” U.S. News & World Report, April 23, 2008.

 

186      “You know, when you look”: Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Bjorn Lomborg, Guest, Hannity & Colmes, Fox News Network, March 21, 2007.

For what it’s worth, the guest is a now-forgotten and awful denier from the turn of the century. I think Lomborg’s big international book was called something coy and awful like Cool It. (This was the sequel. Which suffered the same drop-off in viewership that late seasons of any sci-fi show enjoy. Lomborg’s big book was called The Skeptical Environmentalist.)

 

186      In 1997, a journalist wrote Gallup: This was the independent journalist Bruce Moomaw.

 

168      the sponsor: the Center for Science, Technology and Media: James Lawrence Powell, The Inquisition of Climate Science, Columbia University Press 2011. Chapter Three, “The Evidence for Consensus,” 31.

 

186      “Apparently, the survey sponsor”: Harry E. Cotugno, Vice President, Gallup, To Bruce Moomaw, November 3, 1997.

 

187      “The development of nuclear power”: Mark P. Mills, Communications Service Manager, Atomic Industrial Forum, “The Importance of Non-Oil Energy,” The New York Times, August 4, 1979.

 

187      He became head of the DC office: Alice J. Porter, “People: Washington’s Movers And Shakers; With The Interest Groups,” The National Journal, February 7, 1981.

 

187      Science Concepts, Inc: Mark Mills filed the necessary paperwork, incorporating Science Concepts in November, 1983.

 

187      “rather unfortunate”: Ernest R. Habicht, Jr., “Competition Can Power Utilities Into the Black,” The Wall Street Journal, October 14, 1985. Not exactly science, it was a science concept; just as the number wasn’t exactly a number, it was a numerical concept.

 

187      “because deforestation removes trees”: Peter Huber, “Electricity and the Environment: In Search of Regulatory Authority,” Harvard Law Review, Vol. 100 No. 5, March, 1987. Appendix, “Public Risks Associated with Energy Production: This Table was Prepared by Mark Mills at Science Concepts, Inc.”, Mark Mills.

 

188      Science Concepts stepped deeper: Instantly. Nuclear News, “Equal Coal/Nuclear Use Could Reduce CO2—Study,” December 1988.

 

188      nuclear power had spared the world: Nuclear News, “Equal Coal/Nuclear Use Could Reduce CO2—Study,” December, 1988. “In a set of technical perspectives produced for the U.S. Council for Energy Awareness, the consulting firm Science Concepts Inc. (SCI) . . .”

 

188      attended a global warming conference: Preparing for Climate Change: Proceedings, Second North American Conference On Preparing For Climate Change, A Cooperative Approach. December 6-8, 1988, Mayflower Stouffer House, Washington, D.C.

JASON scientist Gordon MacDonald (the man who kicked oily muck onto presidential trousers) was in attendance; Sir Crispin Tickell, who would become Prime Minister Thatcher’s lead climate delegate; Stanford’s Stephen Schneider (then with the National Center for Atmospheric Research); and Richard Benedick, who had helped negotiate the ozone treaty. Again, science is a small town.

 

188      fax a letter instead of calling: Matthew L. Wald, “A New Mantra From Utility Companies: Use More Electricity,” The New York Times, May 19, 1994.

 

The catalogue is the brainchild of a Washington energy consultant, Mark Mills, who argues that anything done with a fossil fuel can be done better with electricity. Mr. Mills produced the catalogue, which a dozen utilities will put their names on and mail to their customers . . . Is all this true, or is it simply a way for utilities to make more money?

 

The last sentence being one of the key distinctions—again—between how we respond to science and to a science concept.

 

188      you just shaved: Electric Light & Power, “Higher Electrical Use Can Cut Greenhouse Gas Releases,” August, 1991.

 

188      “one of the chief ‘culprits’”: Mark P. Mills, Ecowatts: The Clean Switch: Using Electricity To Save Energy & Cut Greenhouse Gases, Edison Electric Institute, 1991.

 

188      “meet the professional environmentalists head-on”: Electric Utility Week, “Fuel Supply Co-Op Fights Coal-Use Penalty Proposed For California,” December 23, 1991.

 

188      from coal’s ICE campaign: Utility Environment Report, “Western Fuels Experts Attack CEC Proposal For Carbon Dioxide Penalty,” December 13, 1991. California—as ever leading the environmental amelioration way—proposed a tax-per-ton on CO2 emissions.

 

188      writing reports for the coal industry: Mark Mills, “Coal: Cornerstone of America’s Competitive Advantage in World Markets,” For the Center for Energy & Economic Development, National Mining Association, Western Fuels Association, December 1996.

Generation Week, “Study Says Coal Is The Key To Lower Emissions,” May 2, 1997. What a thing to get into the trade press, two decades after the National Academy of Sciences first suggested “a lively sense of urgency” when it came to coal. “If expensive new emissions controls are put on coal-fired power plants to battle air pollution and global warming, electricity will become more expensive, which will hamper further electrification, thus raising emissions from other sources, said study author Mark Mills.”

The Energy Report, “Study: Coal Essential to U.S. Economy and Key to Reducing Overall Emissions,” April 21, 1997. Same message: The “study contends that using coal would reduce emissions.”

 

188      The Internet Begins With Coal: Mark Mills, “The Internet Begins With Coal: A Green Policy Part for the Greening Earth Society: Produced by Mark Mills, Scientific Advisor to the Greening Earth Society,” Greening Earth Society, May 1999.

Fred Palmer, Western Fuels and Greening Earth Society head, promised a congressional staffer: “We will bury you in studies.”

Which could be one of the era’s slogans.

Naomi Oreskes, “My Facts Are Better Than Your Facts: Spreading Good News About Global Warming” in Peter Howlett, Mary S. Morgan, (Editors), How Well Do Facts Travel? The Dissemination of Reliable Knowledge, Cambridge University Press 2011.

 

188      a signal boost from George W. Bush: CNN Transcripts, “Special Event; Gov. George W. Bush Unveils Energy Policy,” September 29, 2000.

http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0009/29/se.01.html

Accessed 12-15-22.

Megawatt Daily, “Internet Driving Demand For Power, Study Says,” July 13, 1999.

 

Mills, president of Mills McCarthy & Associates, of Chevy Chase, Md., wrote his study for the Greening Earth Society, a group established by the Western Fuels Association which believes the consumption of fossil fuels is a natural act. The group also promotes the benign effects of carbon dioxide emissions, which are thought to be a contributor to global warming and which come, in part, from the combustion of fossil fuels.

 

And, inevitably, the Science Concept ended up in Congress.

Federal News Service, “Hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science And Transportation Committee; Subject: Reductions In Greenhouse Gases; Chaired By: Senator John McCain (R-Az),” September 21, 2000.

This is the testimony of Fred Palmer, CEO of Western Fuels. “What is driving electricity demand in the United States is the wonderful revolution that is represented by the Internet and by the broadband revolution. We did a study last year called ‘The Internet Begins With Coal,’ by Mark Mills. It has had some impact and we are proud of that. But Mark identified that eight percent of electricity demand in the U.S. goes to Internet-related consumption, and that number now is estimated to be 13 percent.”

It wasn’t just the Senate, not just Fred Palmer—who had after all funded the Mark Mills internet study. A year earlier, former Bob Dole running mate Jack Kemp had testified before the House.

Federal News Service, “Prepared Testimony of Jack Kemp, Distinguished Fellow, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Before the House Committee On Government Reform; National Economic Growth, Natural Resources, and Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee,” July 15, 1999. “In concluding, Mr. Chairman, I would like to suggest to the Subcommittee a subject for future exploration. Mark Mills, a Senior Fellow at CEI and science advisor to the Greening Earth Society, has done a preliminary study of the impact of the internet economy and near-universal computer use on energy supply and demand. His full report, available from the Greening Earth Society. . . ”

 

188      he released the Gallup number: He released it in mid-February, 1992, at the National Press Club. Federal News Service, “News Conference With the Center For Science Technology and Media Re: Uncertainty Over Global Warming, National Press Club, Washington, D.C.,” February 13, 1992.

Center for Science, Technology, and Media, “Experts Express Uncertainty Over Global Warming,” Press Release, February 13, 1992.

 

188      phone line, printed up letterhead: Mark Mills registered the Center for Science, Technology and Media in August 1991 with the State of Maryland as a type 04 Non-Stock (Non-Profit) Business.

 

188      Some came from the Scaife Foundations: Greenwire, “Poll: 66% of Climate Scientists See Greenhouse Effect,” March 6, 1992.

Richard Mellon Scaife contributed funds through four family trusts; it was the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the largest, that contributed to Mark Mills’ Center for Science etc.

Washington Post, “Scaife’s Foundations,” May 2, 1999.

Scaife funded conservative organizations to tune of $235 million between 1988 and 1998. Joseph F. Garcia, “Rightist Conspiracy? Maybe Not; A Better Word Would Be ‘Industry’. A Fortune Has Funded Many Conservative Obsessions. Clinton May Simply Be the Latest Scaife-Goat,” Philadelphia Inquirer, March 7, 1998.

When it comes to climate change, the Scaifes’ support amounted to about $40 million between 2003 and 2010; this is about 50 percent more than the splashier Koch brothers. Colin Schultz, “Meet the Money Behind the Climate Denial Movement: Nearly a Billion Dollars a Year is Flowing Into the Organized Climate Change Counter-movement,” Smithsonian, December 23, 2013.

 

189      remarks about the professor’s mother and teeth: Clint Hendler, “Richard Mellon Scaife and his Lawsuit of Treasures,” Columbia Journalism Review, October 22, 2007.

https://archives.cjr.org/behind_the_news/richard_mellon_scaife.php

Accessed 12-15-22.

Karen Rothmyer, who taught at the J School, was reporting at the time for the Journalism Review. It was her teeth and mother Scaife appraised. Karen Rothmyer, “Citizen Scaife,” Columbia Journalism Review, July/August 1981.

 

189      “I usually find it’s enough”: Al Franken, Lies (and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them), Dutton 2003. Chapter 19, “Who Created the Tone?”, 141.

 

189      There was a concerted campaign … basically, to focus everyone on the uncertainties”: Frontline, “Hot Politics,” PBS, April 24, 2007.

With a clip of Dr. Sherwood Idso from the good old Greening of Planet Earth video, now a decade and a half old.

 

andrew revkin, The New York Times: There was a concerted campaign by lobbyists and communicators for industry and scientists who had partnerships or relationships with either libertarian think tanks or with industry, directly to cast doubt — basically, to focus everyone on the uncertainties.

 

deborah amos (Host): A coalition of coal companies produced a film that suggested more carbon dioxide might be a good thing.

 

[Western Fuels Association, “The Greening of Planet Earth”]

 

dr. sherwood idso: A doubling of CO2 content of the atmosphere will produce a tremendous greening of planet earth.

 

189      a kind of opinion poem: Federal News Service, “News Conference With the Center For Science Technology and Media Re: Uncertainty Over Global Warming, National Press Club, Washington, D.C.,” February 13, 1992.

And of course it’s the title of the Center’s document: begin advertising your product on the first billboard. Center for Science, Technology, and Media, “Experts Express Uncertainty Over Global Warming,” February 13, 1992.

 

190      Same street address, same suite door: That address was Two Wisconsin Circle, Suite 470, in Chevy Chase Maryland. Listed as the address for Science Concepts, Inc., in: Mark Mills, Ecowatts: The Clean Switch—Using Electricity To Save Energy & Cut Greenhouse Gases, Science Concepts, Inc., April 1991.

Listed as the address for the Center for Science, Technology & Media in: Center for Science, Technology & Media, Global Warming: What the Experts Say—What the Media Reports, Executive Summary, February 1992.

In this, Mark Mills was following the lead of his sponsor Western Fuels. The Greening Earth Society (named after Sherwood Idso’s Greening of Planet Earth films) and Western were ostensibly separate; they had, after all, separate names.

 

One realizes Greening Earth Society and Western Fuels are essentially the same organization. Both are located at the same office suite in Arlington, VA. They share the same leader, Fred Palmer, several WFA board members serve as the board for GES, and they have the same “manager of communications and governmental affairs,” Ned Leonard. Leonard and Palmer are both registered lobbyists for Western Fuels Association. (1998 Washington Representatives).

 

CLEAR: Clearinghouse on Environmental Advocacy and Research, “Western Fuels Association’s Astroturf Empire: Coal industry campaign multiplies efforts to re-spin global warming,” November 10, 1998.

https://archive.is/L87sa#selection-611.168-611.173

Accessed 12-20-22.

 

190      also the number for a new Mark Mills venture: Center for Science, Technology and Media, Undated. “The Center for Science, Technology and Media (CSTM) is a non-profit organization promoting greater understanding of science & technology (S & T) issues.” The address given is, as above, the same for Mills McCarthy; the phone number and original address were Science Concepts.

 

190      now quietly pastured: Per its filing history, Mills McCarthy merged with Science Concepts, Inc., in August 1996; it was incorporated in 1992.

 

190      packed and unpacked too: That was on Wisconsin Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD. Suite 700, fax line 301-718-xxxx.

 

190      if you tried the center’s old fax number: Science Concepts, Inc.: See for example Energy Review, Environmental Institute of the International Academy at Santa Barbara, Vol. 19, 35.

Center for Science, Technology and Media: See for example Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Hearings on the Science and Energy Policy Implications of Global Climate Change and International Agreements Regarding Greenhouse Gas Emissions, United States Senate, One Hundred and Second Congress, May 6 and 12, 1992. U.S. Government Printing Office, 1992. It was part of prepared statement of Sen. Malcom Wallop, Wyoming (R). 21.

Mills-McCarthy & Associates: See for example Subcommittee on National Economic Growth, Natural Resources, and Regulatory Affairs of the Committee on Government Reform, Kyoto and the Internet: The Energy Implications of the Digital Economy, United States House of Representatives, 106 Congress, Second Session, February 2, 2000. Government Printing Office 2000.

160, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Ohio (D), to Mark Mills, Mills-McCarthy & Associates, via facsimile.

162, Mark Mills, Mills-McCarthy & Associates to Rep. Dennis Kucinich, via facsimile.

 

190      “on every Gallup poll”: Federal News Service, “News Conference With the Center For Science Technology and Media Re: Uncertainty Over Global Warming, National Press Club, Washington, D.C.,” February 13, 1992.

 

190      not enough on stealth threats: Howard Kurtz, “Stories on Cancer’s Causes Are Said to Be Misfocused; Media Overplay Minor Environmental Threats to Health, Experts Contend,” The Washington Post, July 27, 1993.

The study was called “Scientific Opinion vs. Media Coverage of Environmental Cancer: A Report on Research in Progress.” It was a sort of Mad Libs of the climate change study—with polling by Roper, instead of the understandably reluctant Gallup.

David Shaw, “Living Scared. Why Do The Media Make Life Seem So Risky?”, The Los Angeles Times, September 11, 1994.

S. Robert Lichter, “Why Cancer News Is A Health Hazard,” The Wall Street Journal, November 12, 1993. (Correction, “Center for Science, Technology and Media,” November 17, 1993.)

 

191      Only 19 percent of waste experts: John J. Fried, “A Recycler’s Nightmare: Is It Possible There’s Too Much?”, The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 30, 1994.

Consumers’ Research Magazine, “Consumers’ Observation Post,” August 1994.

 

191      to a skeptic publication: This is World Climate Report, funded by Fred Palmer’s Western Fuels Association, affiliated with the Greening Earth Society, edited by skeptic Pat Michaels.

The useful and comprehensive Desmog.com has a very thorough entry.

https://www.desmog.com/world-climate-report/

Accessed 12-12-22.

191      “Environmentalists see increasing”: Mark Mills, “Want to Improve Your Nation’s Health? Burn Coal,” World Climate Report, Western Fuels Association, May 11, 1998.

Mark Mills’ point: not that coal is more healthy than you’d think but electricity is really great. “Curtailing coal use will serve to increase electric costs and erode and perhaps even eliminate the many important health benefits we now enjoy.” So if you keep insulin in a fridge, and reduce coal: diabetes risk.

When I read this, I think of Jeff Lebowski scoffing at the plot hatched by security expert Walter Sobchak. “The beauty of this is its simplicity,” Sobchak maintains. Lebowski bitterly allows that the planning is indeed very simple.

Mills thriftily repackaged this material and re-published it in the soundalike magazine Consumers’ Research (its long dogfight with the more reputable Consumer Reports is part of another denier’s tale). This came eight weeks later, under the (more honest) title, “How Electric Technologies Will Improve Health.” Mark P. Mills, Consumers’ Research Magazine, July 1998. A good example of what the Rolling Stone editorial team described to staff as “smart freelancing.”

 

191      “as a health risk”: It was counterfactuals Mills seemed to accept as his job to propound. Here he is, sneaking a Science Concept into our paper of record.

 

It sounds like an “annoying proposition,” acknowledged Mark P. Mills, an energy consultant here, but “using more coal reduces carbon dioxide emissions in the real world.”

 

Matthew L. Wald, “Global Warming; Coal Nightmares, Electrical Dreams,” The New York Times, December 1, 1997.

 

191      and, of course, the greenhouse effect: Peter Huber, “Electricity and the Environment: In Search of Regulatory Authority,” Harvard Law Review, Vol. 100 No. 5, March, 1987. Appendix, “Public Risks Associated with Energy Production: This Table was Prepared by Mark Mills at Science Concepts, Inc.”, Mark Mills.

Some years later, Mills’ colleague Peter Huber would gladden denier hearts and supercharge denial language by generating a useful term: Junk Science.

 

191      an anthology of parenting stories: Gregory Orfalea, Barbara Rosewicz, Eds., Up All Night: Practical Wisdom From Mothers and Fathers, Paulist Press 2004.

The Paulist Press is faith-based. “Publishing the Best of Catholic Thought at the Intersection of Faith and Culture Since 1865.” Donnamarie Mills gives her bio as “a part-time writer and editor specializing in energy issues,” and adds that she “and her husband Mark are the parents of four children.” That’s where you end up, after denial: just another nice neighbor with vague and interesting skills.

The Mills, McCarthy contribution to Up All Night is called “Mother’s Been Carried Off By the Iroquois.”

 

191      Shakespeare troupe: Shakespeare Theater Company, 610 F Street NW, 2007/2008 Annual Report, 36.

 

191      hosted a benefit for veterans: This was the Yellow Ribbon Fund, in October 2006.

 

192      doesn’t seem to list on corporate bios: He does list it on his bio at another Mark Mills venture: “Mark P. Mills | Tech Pundit.” In pale green Rollerball-type font; the same vibe as Science Concepts, Inc.

https://www.tech-pundit.com/

Accessed 12-11-22.

 

192      produces environmentally friendly batteries: Businesswire.com, “International Battery Announces CEO Transition Plans and Executive Appointments: International Battery’s CEO Dr. Ake Almgren transitions to Chairman and consultant to the company effective September 1, 2011. Mark P. Mills will become the new CEO and Vice Chairman,” July 22, 2001.

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110722005100/en/International-Battery-Announces-CEO-Transition-Plans-Executive

Accessed 12-11-22.

In the press release, Mark Mills describes International Battery in—a nice gray surprise—environmentally-friendly terms: “A proven game-changing green manufacturing operation in the heart of industrial America.”

The Parrot and the Igloo by David Lipsky