Robert Renner is a very clever filmmaker, although not a very honest one. He opened his film at the Magic Castle in Hollywood with a magician explaining the slight off hand. If you can divert people’s attention from what you are actually doing, you can make them believe something else.
He then spent the first part of his film showing endless clips of tobacco company executives saying smoking doesn’t cause cancer. Ahhhh…..am I’m a little slow here, am I supposed to believe that proves global warming skeptics are lying? Scientists whose life long research doesn’t agree with the catastrophic claims of Warmers are equal to highly paid tobacco executives who make a living selling cigarettes?
The film then went on to slander well known skeptics such as Senator Jim Inhofe, “Junk Science” Steve Malloy and Austrian-born, physicist and emeritus professor of environmental science at the University of Virginia, Fred Singer, among others. The film implies they are funded by BIG oil, tobacco and chemical companies to deny anthropogenic global warming. Professor Singer’s work had been highly respected for decades. He was a leading scientist in our early space research and was involved in the development of observation satellites. But we’re to believe he all of a sudden decided to take bribes from oil companies to deny science.
By the way, I don’t understand the demonization of oil companies. Cheap abundant oil is directly responsible for the development of this country, the high standard of living we all enjoy (even our poorest), and our ability to travel where and when we want. You can’t compare oil companies to tobacco companies whose product does none of those things.
James Hansen was heavily featured in Merchants of Doubt. Hansen served as head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies from 1981 to 2013. He is one of the most well known global warming activists. Hansen did extensive studies of Venus and asserts that several billion years ago Venus’s atmosphere was more like earth’s but greenhouse gases caused the temperature to increase to the point life was not possible. Hmm, yet there is no evidence SUV’s were ever on Venus.
Hansen has become more of an activist than a scientist these days. He has been arrested several times protesting the Keystone pipeline. Physicist Freeman Dyson criticized Hansen saying, “Hansen has turned his science into ideology”. Fifty former NASA astronauts, engineers and scientists wrote a letter to Hansen objecting to his using NASA and the Goddard Institute to promote what they believe is NOT “settled science”. I guess the film didn’t have time to include that information.
One of the most prominent people featured in the film (as she co-authored it) was Naomi Oreskes. She is a Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University.
Oreskes asserts there are only a “handful” of scientists who obscure the truth of global warming. She claims (as all Warmers do) that a “consensus of scientists”, in fact 97%, all believe in anthropogenic global warming. She claims that “handful” of skeptics are denying the facts and fighting science. She implies but never proves, they are being funded by BIG Oil, BIG Tobacco and BIG Chemical companies.
Oreskes then mentions “The PetitionProject” that 31,000+ scientists signed. She dismisses it out of hand. She said Mickey Mouse and other phony signatures appear on the petition. Even if that were true, how would that discount the thousands of real scientists who signed it? However, it isn’t true. I met the scientists who circulated the petition at the Climate Change Conference in Las Vegas last July. Dr. Willie Soon sat at my table. He explained, while they were collecting signatures, they heard people were going to sign phony names to debunk the project so they vetted EVERY SINGLE name……and still the Warmers make the claim because who is going to go through 31K signatures to prove them wrong?
Oreskes claim of a consensus of scientists was debunked:
However, that isn’t mentioned in the film either.
One of the more amusing segments (and I’m not sure why they included it as it doesn’t help their argument) was focused on former Republican Congressman Bob Inglis. He explained that he had changed his mind on global warming when he visited the Artic several times and saw ice cores that showed CO2 increased after the industrial revolution (did he see ice cores from the Jurassic period when CO2 was 5 times higher than now?). http://www.livescience.com/44330-jurassic-dinosaur-carbon-dioxide.html
Inglis introduced HR2380 that imposed a carbon tax. He was primaried the next election and lost BIG TIME to Trey Gowdy. Apparently, Inglis is still running for something. The film followed him from a speaking engagement to a local radio station where he was interviewed by a host who was a skeptic and cut his interview short.
Oreskes and others in the film frame themselves as the “good guys” and the skeptics as the “bad guys”. They accuse skeptics (bad guys) of being free market fundamentalists who oppose environmental regulations, but, although, they acknowledge many environmentalists (good guys) are socialists who love regulations, they say that doesn’t mean global warming is a myth (nor does it mean it isn’t).
According to Oreskes the public doesn’t have a good grasp of the essential scientific facts about global warming and that is the fault of the skeptics and the media coverage of their disinformation. Actually, studies have shown the media coverage of global warming is very much weighted in favor of anthropologic global warming.
Oreskes admits all the problems caused by global warming (if it were true and catastrophic) require BIG government to address. But she says it’s necessary because “People Will Die”.
“Merchants of Doubt” is based on a book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway. The following is an objective review of the book and this film: http://www.academia.edu/4754580/Debunking_skeptical_propaganda_Book_review_of_Oreskes_Conway_Merchants_of_Doubt