Shoot The Messenger

One approach was to challenge the science behind climate change. Scientists such as Fred Singer, Robert Balling and Patrick Michaels were (and are) only too happy to receive funds from fossil fuel lobbies for their work, which raised questions about human contributions to climate change and the very existence of the problem itself.4 Industry bodies such as the American Enterprise Institute, as recently as 2007, were offering individual scientists sums of $10,000 each to discredit the prevailing IPCC consensus.5 The fossil fuel lobby was particularly well linked to those governments that contribute most to global warming. In the USA, Bush senior's Chief of Staff John Sununu played a key part in ensuring that President Bush senior only got to hear doubts about the science and studies that emphasised the costs of taking action. Sununu's director of communications in the White House was none other than John Shlaes who went on to head the Global Climate Coalition leading the assault on a treaty on climate change.

5 I. Sample, 'Scientists offered cash to dispute climate study', The Guardian, 2 February 2007.

Create confusion 39

Insiders such as Sununu certainly made the job of industry lobbyists a whole lot easier. When in 1989 NASA scientist James Hansen found his warning to Congress about the urgency of action on climate change had been watered down by the US Office of Management and Budget, the scale of political gate-keeping that was going on became clear for all to see.

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