Climate-change deniers spread misinformation

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First the good news. Climate action will hit the streets this Saturday (October 24) with events in Toronto (see daily events listings) and Ottawa mirroring ones in 171 countries around the globe (details 350.org). But the run-up to the Copenhagen Climate Conference (December 7 to 18), which will decide the planet's carbon future, isn't just whipping up supporters.

Climate deniers are swinging into action as well, highlighted earlier this week by a media splash for the film Not Evil Just Wrong.

It doesn't matter how discredited the climate-change resistance is by an unprecedented rock solid scientific consensus around climate change. That is why it has become the political consensus among all the world's leaders including even Stephen Harper (though only when he is out of the country). No matter the multiple exposes of how oil and coal money have fuelled fake "astroturf" movements to get airtime and political cred.

Climate-change deniers aren't letting up. They should be happy that all their confusion and lies kept the world from seriously tackling the atmospheric emergency for the last 20 years or more.

But no, turns out they aren't about to lie down and take a pass now. Expect the climate deniers to pull out the stops even harder if any change really comes to be after Copenhagen.

Last Sunday (October 18) marked a big uptick for these darlings of the right with the Michael Moore-style Al Gore attack film Not Evil Just Wrong. It was live streamed on the web for its launch into a good number of homes and gatherings and got a fair amount of media ballyhoo. The live Toronto screening was presented by the right wing think tank, the Fraser Institute and got serious ink in the Star.

Here are some lines just in the trailer. "I don't think it would be a bad thing for this earth to warm. In fact ice is the enemy of life." Or this one: "A lot of environmental activists still have not come to accept that humans are also part of the environment." And perhaps most outrageous, this toss-off: "They want to go back to the dark ages and the bubonic plague." Wow.

When I try to buy a copy to see the film, a few hours later, the shop has crashed. I guess it's good to know that for all their sneaky ways, the climate confusers are incompetent at some part of the PR job. It was down until yesterday (Wednesday October 14).

But I did manage to speak with Vancouverite PR-man, James Hoggan to help me figure out what was up.

He is also chair of the David Suzuki Foundation, co-founder of the denial tracking website DeSmogBlog.com, and author of the newly released Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming, an expose about the campaign to sow international confusion about the causes and implications of climate change. He was in New York plugging his book.

"The two driving forces, I think, behind these groups that are still very active are the extreme right-wing libertarian movements and basically energy money protecting money to be made and money that they want to avoid losing."

"The whole thing is alive and well. The Friends of Science are back up and running. They and the Fraser Institute are behind this screening of this film across Canada. This thing is across the entire country. It's in Montreal, it's in Vancouver, it's in Toronto, it's down here in the States."

The people who are behind the screening are also behind the tour of Christopher Monckton.

"Christopher Monkton is a climate-change denier with no climate science credentials from the U.K.," he tells me. "And they toured him right across Canada. He was on The Hour, interviewed in media right across the country."

And by the way, that isn't just Hoggan paranoia. Even the Friends of Science website can't summon any scientific background on this former journalist who was also a policy advisor to Margaret Thatcher. Yes. Everything is connected.

"What they're trying to do is attack Al Gore. And so this Christopher Monkton and this film are both lying about the outcome of a court case. They were trying to get An Inconvenient Truth thrown out of high schools in the U.K. and they were denied their application. (The court did acknowledge that there were 9 over-statements in the film but considered it fundamentally accurate.)"

"These guys have zero credibility and an endless capacity to misinform and lie. And so they get out there and they just lie their way across the country and no one calls them on it; they even get interviewed on The Hour and treated like they're somehow an authority on climate change. It's just astounding."

"This has been an extremely successful campaign that has undermined strong public policy in Canada. We're kind of a pariah on climate change. I felt that if you could turn the lights on and people could see who these folks really are, that they would be less effective in their deception campaign."

Back at Desmog blog, Kevin Grandia points out that this isn't first reactionary climate film from these producers.

"Their last effort was a pro-coal mining film called Mine Your Own Business, billed as a portrayal of the dark side of environmentalism and its campaign to halt mining development in third world countries."

It was later revealed that Mine Your Own Business was sponsored by Gabriel Resources, a Canadian mining company that was attempting to set up a gold strip mine in the Romanian village that was the subject of the film."

This isn't going away. More reason to make your voice heard on October 24 and beyond.

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