Why Climate Change Denial Is Biggest Conservative Lie of All

Folks Who Backed Segregation Now Lead Earth to Disaster

getty images

By Jay Michaelson

Published February 08, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Are conservatives ever right?

They were wrong about slavery, wrong about women’s suffrage, wrong about segregation, wrong about gay rights. They were wrong about trickle down economics – it’s never worked and never will, as the ballooning wealth gap proves once again. They were wrong about Iraq (where are those WMD’s, anyway?) and wrong about Vietnam before it. They’re even wrong about evolution (in which only 43% of Republicans believe).

But no error, no misguided application of ideology, no deception is more damaging than the web of lies that conservatives have spun about climate change.

According to a recent study by Yale University, only 32% of Americans believe that global warming is happening, and that human beings are responsible for it. This despite a complete – that’s right, complete – consensus on that point on the part of scientists not working for the fossil fuel industry. As with evolution, there is a unanimous consensus among independent scientific experts, with uncertainties limited to size and scope.

Indeed, the distance between informed and ignorant is widening. Only a year prior, the Pew Research Center found that 45% of Americans “believed” – why is this a belief? – that humans are causing climate change.

Why the gap? As described in exhaustive detail in Naomi Oreskes’ and Eric Conway’s Merchants of Doubt, Chris Mooney’s The Republican War on Science, James Hoggan and Richard Littlemore’s Climate Cover-Up, and a shelf full of books that only liberals read, billions of dollars have been spent by the fossil fuel industry, and fossil fuel industrialists like the Koch Brothers, to cast doubt on the reality of anthrogenic climate change.

There is no doubt. A recent study found that between 1998 and 2002, there were 928 peer-reviewed scientific articles describing how human activity has caused climate change. There were 0 denying it.

Meanwhile, another study found that of the 141 books denying climate change – none of which were scientifically peer reviewed – 130 of them were written by conservative think tanks funded by Big Oil, or by authors affiliated with them.

In other words, the “debate” about climate change isn’t among scientists. It’s between scientists and industry lackeys who are paid to lie.

“Lie” may be too strong a word. How about “distort”? Or “selectively report”? Or maybe just “say stupid stuff”?


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.