“The broad shape of the story is the same”: Climate denial and the COVID-19 response

Back in 2010, Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway published Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming. There are patterns in the incentives, people, and tactics used in science denial, and learning those is crucial to dealing with a number of huge problems. This video from Yale Climate Connections shows the parallel between the unfolding of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the fight against acknowledging and dealing with man-made climate change:

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  1. Bruce says

    If anyone wonders if these Republicans and corporatists are sincere, just imagine what they would say about anyone who acted this way on other issues. For example, what if a future President said they saw no certainty of any military attack on the USA, so the defense budget could be reduced by 99%?
    Obviously, the Republicans would cry and say that the President was being unscientific and was thus insane.
    That should be our view of the current administration, including Pence.

  2. says

    Right on – both the video and Bruce’s comment.
    Oreskes and Conway showed that in many cases it was the SAME PEOPLE fighting for Big Tobacco, and against climate action. Many of their cheerleaders, trained in the production of doubt, have been heard from again during the corona-virus pandemic, urging people to engage in life-threatening behaviors. I note that one of the founding strategists for this anti-reality strategy just died — Fred Singer, physicist and all-purpose denier. But the apprenticeship program supported in many “conservative” think-tanks has ensured he has many successors, though mostly with even less science cred.

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