“Earth is now substantially out of energy balance. The amount of solar energy that Earth absorbs exceeds the energy radiated back to space. The principal manifestations of this energy imbalance are continued global warming on decadal time scales and continued increase in ocean heat content” (James Hansen 2018).
“The people have no voice since they have no information” …“No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity – much less dissent” (Gore Vidal)
With the exception of the few who comprehend the nature of a Faustian Bargain, some billionaires, captains of industry and their political and media mouthpieces are driving humanity toward self-destruction through the two biggest enterprises on Earth, the fossil fuel industry, which is devastating the Earth atmosphere, and the industrial-military machine leading toward nuclear war. The rest of the world is dragged subconsciously, induced by bread and circuses.
By close analogy with the tobacco denial syndrome, albeit with consequences affecting the entire Earth, the fossil fuel industry has been paying climate pseudoscientists to propagate fabricated untruths regarding the origins and consequences of global warming, widely disseminated by the media.
Despite irrefutable evidence for global warming, such fabrications are still quoted by pro-coal lobbies and compliant politicians, including:
- Denial of basic laws of physics, i.e. the blackbody radiation laws of Plank, Stefan-Boltzmann and Kirchhoff
- Denial of direct observations and measurements in nature, in particular the sharp rises of temperatures, ice melt rates, sea level rise and extreme weather events.
- Denial of the global warming origin of extreme weather events, i.e. the closely monitored rise in storms, hurricanes, fires and droughts in several parts of the world.
- Denial of the bulk of the peer-reviewed literature summed up in the IPCC reports.
- Denial of conclusions of the world’s premier climate research organizations (NASA, NOAA, NSIDC (National Snow and Ice Data Centre), Hadley-Met, Tindale, Potsdam, WMO (World Meteorological Organization), CSIRO, BOM and other organizations).
In view of the rapidly growing direct evidence from the increase in extreme weather events, the common tactic has changed from outright denial to a minimization of the significance and consequences of the shift in state of the climate.
Whereas news items channelled by international news agencies regarding extreme weather events are generally reported, at least by national broadcasters, the plethora of discussion and debate programs on TV and radio stations mostly overlook the enhanced toxic effects of carbon gases, or relegate it behind sports and entertainment news. In most instances discussion panels focus on the inside political machinations rather than the critical issues themselves.
According to Mary Debrett (LaTrobe University):
“We are now in the middle of perfect storm of miscommunication about climate change. Various factors have converged to confound rational public conversation. Public opinion polling indicates that although there is widespread acceptance of climate change resulting from human activities, the public’s preparedness to pay for action to mitigate climate change is actually declining – even as climate scientists warn of the increasing urgency for action. These results signal a serious problem in the public communication of climate change. They reflect this perfect storm – where tensions between the media, politicians and various lobby groups have made it impossible for scientists and others with appropriate expertise, to cut through.”
The major influence the media exerts on public opinion, and the extent to which it can be referred to as the “tail which wags the political dog”, allows it nearly as much, or more, political power as political leaders, chief bureaucrats and heads of corporation. A power accompanied with little responsibility.
Andrew Glikson is an Earth and paleo-climate scientist.