Attacks on scientific consensus on climate change mirror tactics of tobacco industry (via Skeptical Science)

Posted on 29 November 2013 by John Cook The importance of public perception of scientific consensus has been established in a number of studies (e.g., here, here and here). Perhaps nothing underscores its importance as much as the effort that opponents…

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  1. JIM SATTERFIELD December 1, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    Then there’s the method of saying that consensus doesn’t mean anything in science because it only proves that it’s either a social construct among liberal scientists or something created by financial considerations.

  2. sheknows December 1, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    Fortunately the tobacco industry lost though. Their packages now have to state that smoking causes a list of things including birth defects, lung disease, heart disease etc. Smokers pay no more attention to it than they would if you placed warnings on gas pumps. Warning: burning fossil fuels destroys our environment. Or plastic containers: Warning, this bottle when empty will take 5000 years to degrade. Or Warning: do not toss the empty bottle in our lakes, oceans or waterways as it may kill sea life and waterfowl.

    It seems whether people believe it is scientific fact or not isn’t the problem.
    Petroleum companies still make plastic, Stupid smokers still smoke, and people will drive cars no matter what. Companies provide people with the products based on demand. No products no problem.
    We need greater R&D in environmentally friendly products. Hybrids need to be made less expensive, all electric cars will eventually be phased in, biodegradable material similar to plastic is already there, just need to compete with the plastics ind. We have the know-how, we just need the marketing. Industries will never stop producing harmful costs too much. We need to make these changes an INCENTIVE for businesses, not an extra expense.

  3. PATRICK EDABURN, Assistant Editor December 1, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    I agree that the denier crowd is wrong.

    However as someone who is once again in the middle road of the debate I find a degree of intolerance on the other side too.

    I believe that global temperatures are rising and I believe human behavior is a factor. But I think it is open to debate how much temperatures have risen and how much human behavior is to blame and how much it is natural cycles.

    Yet when I say this some on the other side call me a denier at best and stupid or ignorant at worst.

  4. zusa1 December 1, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    “Consequently, those who oppose policy to mitigate climate change have sought to cast doubt on the consensus for over two decades.”

    Maybe looking at more palatable mitigation policy would help. If you want less of something, don’t subsidize it.

  5. JSpencer December 1, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    I’m sorry Patrick, but I think we are beyond the point where nursing sensitive feelings can be expected to be a part of the equation. The problem of global warming is simply too big, perhaps it’s even insurmountable at this stage. We can thank the willful purveyors of disinformation for that, but part of the problem has also been a public that isn’t up to the task of understanding when they are being played.

  6. cjjack December 1, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Fortunately the tobacco industry lost though. Their packages now have to state that smoking causes a list of things including birth defects, lung disease, heart disease etc.

    Yet although they lost the fight over whether or not smoking causes all those things, they’re still making money hand over fist.

    Fossil fuel companies will still make exorbitant amounts of money even if they are forced to concede GW is real and caused by human activity.