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How 'Climategate' Is like the O.J. Trial

Attack the process and the truth doesn't matter. This is the tactic currently being employed by the climate denying flacks of fossil fuels. With a...


Attack the process and the truth doesn't matter. This is the tactic currently being employed by the climate denying flacks of fossil fuels. With a clever analogy in this week's TomDispatch, Bill McKibben reminds us all of where we've seen this before. With the Honorable Judge Ito presiding:
The Dream Team of lawyers assembled for Simpson's defense had a problem: It was pretty clear their guy was guilty. Nicole Brown's blood was all over his socks, and that was just the beginning. So Johnnie Cochran, Robert Shapiro, Alan Dershowitz, F. Lee Bailey, Robert Kardashian et al. decided to attack the process, arguing that it put Simpson's guilt in doubt, and doubt, of course, was all they needed. Hence, those days of cross-examination about exactly how Dennis Fung had transported blood samples, or the fact that Los Angeles detective Mark Fuhrman had used racial slurs when talking to a screenwriter in 1986.If anything, they were actually helped by the mountain of evidence. If a haystack gets big enough, the odds only increase that there will be a few needles hidden inside.
As studies proving anthropogenic climate change pile higher and higher, and as cautious and doubtful-by-nature climate scientists grow closer than ever towards scientifically uncommon "consensus," the deniers have less and less ground to stand on. And so they go after the process itself. They attack British scientist Phil Jones (the Mark Fuhrman of the ordeal?) for emailed comments. They hone in on one reference to "grey literature" amidst the 3,000 pages of IPCC reports. They bombard climate scientists with hundreds of Freedom of Information Act requests just to be able to scream bloody murder about how many haven't yet been answered.The worst part is that it's working. The latest poll numbers on the American perception of climate change show the impact clearly: "a 14-point drop since October 2008 in Americans who believe climate change is happening at all (to 57%), a 10-point drop in those who believe that human activity is at the root of the problem (to 47%), and a 13-point drop in those who claim to be 'somewhat' or 'very' worried about the problem (to 50%)."The analogy isn't quite complete, though. McKibben never tells us who's the Kato Kaelin of climategate.
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