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!
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • 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.