Pharyngula

Why am I not surprised?

James Inhofe, the ridiculous climate change denier, appeared on the Rachel Maddow show and made a series of ridiculous claims. Among them was the claim that those wacky environmentalists were greatly outspending the entire energy industry on propaganda. Wait, what? The top five oil companies made $1 trillion in profits from 2011 through 2011, and somehow the Sierra Club and George Soros and Michael Moore are able to outspend them? Where did such a patently absurd claim come from?

Inhofe revealed his source: the “very liberal publication”, Nature (yes, reality really does have a liberal bias) which cited a researcher who found that the environmental movement was filthy rich.

Propelled by an ultra wealthy donor base and key alliances with corporations and other organizations, the environmental movement appears to have closed the financial gap with its opponents.

One problem: that study has been thoroughly debunked and shown to be the work of a very sloppy researcher. Climate change deniers outspent environmentalists 8:1 in lobbying and donating to candidates (buying the government, in other words) in 2009.

And who was that sloppy shill for the denialists? Why, none other than snake oil salesman Matt Nisbet, who Greg Laden and I debated in 2007, and who butchers puppies for fun (←framing).

I admit to chortling with glee at seeing Nisbet exposed yet again as a tool of the status quo.

If you’re really interested, Nisbet has posted his list of excuses for his misleading report. The gist: he picked 45 environmentalist groups and 42 denialist groups (I think we already see a problem in his analysis). The environmental groups were open and revealed all of their expenditures, and were also capped in how much they could spend. The industry groups and right-wing think-tanks were shadier and did not provide figures, so Nisbet “estimated”. Industry associations have no caps on how much they can spend in direct lobbying.

I do regret the effort I spent arguing with this sleazeball in the past.

(Also on FtB)


Adam, David (2011) Money not the problem in US climate debate. Nature 19 April 2011.