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Billionaires Secretly Fund Vast Climate Denial Network

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the obvious-things-are-obvious dept.

Earth 848

Hugh Pickens writes writes "Suzanne Goldenberg reports that conservative billionaires used a secretive funding route to channel nearly $120 million to more than 100 groups casting doubt about the science behind climate change, helping build a vast network of think tanks and activist groups working to redefine climate change from neutral scientific fact to a highly polarizing 'wedge issue' for hardcore conservatives. 'We exist to help donors promote liberty which we understand to be limited government, personal responsibility, and free enterprise,' says Whitney Ball, chief executive of the Donors Trust. Ball's organization assured wealthy donors that their funds would never by diverted to liberal causes with a guarantee of complete anonymity for donors who wished to remain hidden. The money flowed to Washington think tanks embedded in Republican party politics, obscure policy forums in Alaska and Tennessee, contrarian scientists at Harvard and lesser institutions, even to buy up DVDs of a film attacking Al Gore. 'The funding of the denial machine is becoming increasingly invisible to public scrutiny. It's also growing. Budgets for all these different groups are growing,' says Kert Davies, research director of Greenpeace, which compiled the data on funding of the anti-climate groups using tax records. 'These groups are increasingly getting money from sources that are anonymous or untraceable.'"

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Big deal... (-1, Flamebait)

fche (36607) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927559)

Let them purchase as much free speech as they like.

Re:Big deal... (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927633)

I'm ok with that idea. The flip side is you can't do much about it when someone posts something like this (assuming it's all true).

Re:Big deal... (3, Insightful)

jhoegl (638955) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927941)

Of course it is true.
It is fine that everyone can have their say. It is fine that everyone can hear what they have to say, but the only thing that should change is the use of a persons brain.
I am sure everyone has their excuses as to why truth and facts do not matter to them, but denial comes at a cost. It surprises me that so many people care so little about their offspring or family line.

Re:Big deal... (2, Insightful)

durrr (1316311) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928001)

It can be true with mutators like positive or negative bias applied.

This is reported by an environment journalist. And while it may be entirely true that the money is explicitly used to attack global warming. There's no mention whatsoever of the money used to attack global warming skepticism that is channeled to the other side of the pond from sources like Al Gore and other people that are investors in greentech.

This is why I hate the climate debate. It ceased to be science a long time ago, it's all about politics nowdays. Trying to objectively categorise it is the same as being as being a presidential candidate that claims to be 45% democrat and 55% republican: You'll get flakk from both sides and votes from none.

Re:Big deal... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928009)

It's not fine. If they're knowingly lying in order to deceive others into taking actions that benefit the liar, that is textbook fraud.

There has never been "free speech" as you think it is. You can't say whatever you want, whenever you want, for any reason.

Re:Big Questions... (-1, Flamebait)

flyneye (84093) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927635)

So, it couldn't be that there is actually any doubt in the ability of zealous global warming researchers to utilize or even realize ALL relevant criteria necessary to perform an accurate analysis? It's just been a big secret conspiracy all this time? The Tri-Lateral Commission? Alien invaders preparing our planet for their environmental needs? Just who are these influential overlords? Kochs? Rockefellers? Disney? All valid suspects. My money is on Microsoft if they're going to attack a solid citizen like Al Gore with his Apple portfolio.
Did you the author take his medication this week? We have to consider ALL CRITERIA.

Re:Big deal... (1)

flyneye (84093) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927651)

sry, typo, didn't mean to insinuate you wrote the article or take meds.

Cuts both ways (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927677)

Let them purchase as much free speech as they like.

And let others exercise *their* free speech calling them out on how they choose to exercise it and what they choose to say- which is exactly what's being done here.

That said, when it's being exercised in such a non-transparent and intentionally misleading manner, I'd question whether it actually *is* even "free speech" in the first place.

Re:Cuts both ways (1, Insightful)

fche (36607) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927729)

"That said, when it's being exercised in such a non-transparent and intentionally misleading manner, I'd question whether it actually *is* even "free speech" in the first place."

Are you saying that speaking anonymously makes it questionably "free"? Do I understand you correctly, AC?

Re:Cuts both ways (5, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927921)

Well it's more sponsored speech than free speech isn't it.

Surely the free speech ideal is about letting anyone say what they want to say. It weakens it rather a lot when it's a small minority of people buying the speech of many.

It's the classic difference between real grassroots opinions, and astroturf.

Re:Cuts both ways (5, Insightful)

KernelMuncher (989766) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927951)

Freedom of speech implies that the speech is true. If big donors are bribing scientists to falsify information then that's fraud.

Re:Cuts both ways (2)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928043)

Freedom of speech implies that the speech is true. If big donors are bribing scientists to falsify information then that's fraud.

No, bribery and fraud are two different things. The people committing fraud are those taking the bribes; those giving the bribes are committing bribery, and through not disclosing anything publicly, are exercising their freedom to speak only to the few. "Free speech" is not "everyone must be made to hear what I say" but "I get to choose when and where I speak, and on what topic."

As soon as you start forcing (aka limiting) "free" speech, freedom of expression has lost.

Fraud is already fraud; people are freely speaking in-authentically. The only problems here are 1) that fraud is being actively courted and paid for, and 2) that public figures and extremely large sums of money are being used to affect what society thinks on a topic, to the detriment of society and to the gain of a few (for a limited time). Free speech is (and should be) a neutral item in the debate It's neither good nor evil, just like your access to the internet is neither good nor evil (but can be used in both ways).

Re:Cuts both ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927835)

And let others exercise *their* free speech calling them out on how they choose to exercise it and what they choose to say- which is exactly what's being done here.
 

No way, any criticism or doubt as to their words is taking away their freedoms, so it must be silenced in the name of their freedoms, because they must be free to do as they want, and the rest of us can go suck an egg.

Re:Cuts both ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928005)

Let them purchase as much free speech as they like.

And let others exercise *their* free speech calling them out on how they choose to exercise it and what they choose to say- which is exactly what's being done here.

That said, when it's being exercised in such a non-transparent and intentionally misleading manner, I'd question whether it actually *is* even "free speech" in the first place.

The problem with your thinking is that you are, in effect, trying to limit free speech. You are not "calling" anyone out. You are chastising and degrading them. In Obama's State of the Union address he said he was going to raise the minimum wage, give preschool for all kids in America, and he was going to do this without raising the debt a single dime. Why aren't you calling him out on that? The left says asking for I.D. before someone votes interferes with the RIGHT to vote and makes it hard for minorities to vote. Why it makes it hard for minorities and not whites I have no clue. As a people the only difference is skin color and blacks are just as capable as whites in getting I.D. Anyway, so the I.D. is an almost impossible hurdle for some to enjoy their RIGHT to vote. Yet last I looked, we had a RIGHT to own guns. Look what's being done to stop that right. No, I am not talking about background checks although it seems to me you have to have I.D. to own a gun, another right just like voting. They want to put a tax on every gun you own. Isn't this really designed to make it harder to own a gun? They are looking into requiring you to get liability insurance to own a gun. Again, isn't this just a way to make guns too expensive for some?

The hypocrisy on the left knows no bounds.

Re:Big deal... (5, Insightful)

cforciea (1926392) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927727)

That's funny, whenever I do this sort of thing, the police keep calling it "fraud".

Re:Big deal... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927739)

Wrong. Where corporations are concerned, in exchange for the limited liability and other special rights granted, which are not natural rights in the slightest, we as a society can demand accountability fr the money they spend and the lies they promote.
.
If a wealthy INDIVIDUAL wants to go buy propaganda shilling for their self interest against the rest of us, I can't stop that. The thing is, it's pretty hard to use money like that without being found out--that's its own check on excess. That we allow the funneling of cash through groups whose sole purpose is to hide it is called money laundering in any other context and should not be permitted here.

This is also yet another reason, as if we need more, why corporate entities should not be permitted to spend any money or resources at all on politics. They are creations of law. They have no natural right to exist, and that the Supreme Court throws out ANY restrictions on their political behavior given that is just a sad example of how far we've fallen.

Re:Big deal... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927791)

This is also yet another reason, as if we need more, why corporate entities should not be permitted to spend any money or resources at all on politics.

Corporations are associations of people. You can't restrict the free speech of a corporation without infringing on the free speech of the people that make it up.

Sucks, but there it is.

Re: Big deal... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927817)

Wrong. A corporation is a group of individuals. Your attempt to vilify any group of people registered as a corporation is a sad reflection of how far some of our society has fallen as they would prefer to attack the messenger rather than the message. Funny how your views never apply to unions.

Shouldn't be a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927879)

After all, mobs are not allowed free speech either.

Yet the individuals of the mob are.

Re:Shouldn't be a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927989)

mobs are not allowed free speech either.

They aren't? Then how come we haven't been able to shutup the KKK or the WBC?

Re:Big deal... (3, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927991)

we as a society can demand accountability

Please don't use weasel words. You shouldn't say "we as a society" when you really mean "the government", and you shouldn't say "demand accountability" when you really mean "censor speech".

There are some of us who believe that "no" mean "no" in the following sentence: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

If you feel otherwise, and think that freedom expression is not a fundamental right, but rather a privilege that can be withdrawn in some cases, then you are entitled to your opinion (for now), but you should be honest about what you are advocating.

Re:Big deal... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927833)

OK: political ads on TV that are "Paid for by Citizens for a Responsible Energy Mumbo Jumbo"

Not OK: all-expenses paid trips on private jet to Bermuda for elected officials, for golf and a conference on the "latest science" re climate change

Disgusting (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927567)

Make lobbying equal to bribery and throw the fuckheads in jail for life.

Re:Disgusting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927971)

You wouldn't be able to jail them for something that is a crime now but wasn't a crime when they did it.

Re:Disgusting (0, Troll)

thue (121682) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927973)

So since you are also trying to influence politicians (by posting this message), should you also be thrown into jail for life? Lobbying is just telling politicians what your interests are. Which is necessary and healthy in a democracy (in moderation!).

That is not to say that was is going on here is right. But you can't just blanket condemn all "lobbying".

Re:Disgusting (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927981)

as opposed to the billions Soros and Gore's cronies are lobbying (lying) with...

Re:Disgusting (0, Troll)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928047)

does Al Gore get to go to prison too for his ridiculous anti-science movie and his support of cap and trade scams?

Re:Disgusting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928051)

Make lobbying equal to bribery and throw the fuckheads in jail for life.

That is not going to happen. Here's why. The people who would make lobbying equal to bribery would in so doing, cut off their own revenue stream, which they won't do. Imainge a crack addicted cop arresting his dealer. Doesn't happen, unless the cop has another source of crack. In politics, money is like crack, or like gasoline on a long trip. Every so often you have to pull over and fill up.

As for the actual story... well, they can quietly fund a network of bullshitters whose job it is to make it continue to be possible for them to fuck up the environment, until eventually it becomes REALLY obvious, like with this spate of increasingly wacky weather, rising sea levels, rising global temperatures, hottest years ever, etc.

It's like we're in a dinghy and there's a guy being an asshole, rocking the boat, and you say "quit rocking the boat, asshole, we're going to flip!"

He says, "I don't know what you're talking about, the boat isn't rocking. It's perfectly level."

It gets to be increasingly obvious that it's rocking, and so the boat flips, and then as you're all treading water, the colossal schmuck says, "what are you talking about? the boat didn't flip, we're still on it, it's right-side up, and we're all comfortable, and bone-dry."

It is around this point that you punch him in the mouth, then drown his bitch-ass, and turn him into shark food.

We're 3 or 4 years from the day that will happen, it seems. So let's keep track if possible of who is insisting climate change isn't real, so we can feed them to the fucking sharks when the time comes.

Hey, at least it will be warm for a little bit.

Re:Disgusting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928055)

At it's heart, lobbying is an exercise in educating the powerful on issues. There is nothing inherently wrong with this and, as Senator Ted Stevens demonstrated with his "series of tubes" comment, the powerful do occasionally need a little education.

Unfortunately, we see a lot of problems in practice. Two particular issues are: bribe-like behavior, as you implied; and being exposed to only one side of the story. Both are a failure of the politician and of the voters: Voters need to organize better into interest groups and lobby more effectively, and politicians need to listen to such groups more; politicians need to avoid conflicts of interest and the voters need to punish politicians when those conflicts are intolerable.

Remember that, while large corporations have the money needed to hire dedicated lobbyists, voters have the power to remove any politician from office. Money talks, ballots bellow.

As Opposed Too.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927571)

Wow- AGW is a full-fledged cult at this point.

Re:As Opposed Too.. (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927805)

The point of this entire story is that it's not a cult at all. Instead it's a carefully managed organisation with many people working full time jobs to ensure that it works smoothly and efficiently.

Re:As Opposed Too.. (1)

arlo5724 (172574) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927849)

Yes, it does sound more like a religion...

Re:As Opposed Too.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927935)

Are you and GP talking about the same thing here?

AGW = anthropogenic global warming
- not -
AGW = anti-global warming

Re:As Opposed Too.. (Helter Skelter!) (0)

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927983)

> Wow- AGW is a full-fledged cult at this point.

H'yup. Several cool trillions in political subsidies for we-knew-they-will-never-scale energy alternatives (I include ethanol here!) based on grossly overstated sea level rise, ice within historical norms, pure-carbon causation madness based some forced-feedback 'greenhouse effect' robot chicken theory which its own originator Fourier would not even recognize as his own---

Does not count. But when a few billionaires collect the spare change from their couch cushions and manage to raise $120 million for something----?

Well. That changes everything. Twice. Which means it does not change anything at all.

I, for one, would welcome my new karma-reducing Slashdot AGW proponent overlords.

Don't forget the disinformation. (4, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927573)

'We exist to help donors promote liberty which we understand to be limited government, personal responsibility, and free enterprise,' says Whitney Ball, chief executive of the Donors Trust.

And don't forget the disinformation. We can't have all that freedom with an informed public.

Re:Don't forget the disinformation. (1, Funny)

openfrog (897716) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927709)

'We exist to help donors promote liberty which we understand to be limited government, personal responsibility, and free enterprise,' says Whitney Ball, chief executive of the Donors Trust.

And don't forget the disinformation. We can't have all that freedom with an informed public.

Oh for that, when we achieve the goal of a "limited government", we can spend a bit again to institute a ministry of truth.

Re:Don't forget the disinformation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927885)

Worst zinger ever?

What does the data say? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927575)

Is it all being published in a way that anyone can assess for themselves or not? Are assumptions being acknowledged and debated amongst researchers in that field? The source of funding matters little if these things occur.

Secretly? (4, Informative)

mosch (204) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927581)

Was there somebody who didn't know this was going on?  Petrochemical plutocrats were obviously behind this.  In many cases they didn't even bother to hide.

Re:Secretly? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927617)

What we need is somebody to follow the money all the way from the donors to the douchebag "scientists" who make results to order.

Re:Secretly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927661)

Whatever happened to the careers of the scientists caught faking global warming evidence? Nothing. What will happen to these scientists caught taking money to deny global warming? Nothing.

Global warming/Climate change is nothing more than a Hegelian Dialectic that attempts to pidgeon-hole everyone into one of two camps of thought regarding supposed man made climate change while neither side says a peep about actual pollution, fracking, chemical leaks, oil spills, etc. etc.

Re:Secretly? (5, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927737)

True, but the people who don't look at the evidence or think about the data are in the majority. They get all their information from these guys. They vote, too.

That's why this is bad - a bunch of rich guys are using the ignorant masses as a way to trade the future of the planet for their nth new mansion in some tax haven or other.

Re:Secretly? (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927965)

True, but the people who don't look at the evidence or think about the data are in the majority. They get all their information from these guys. They vote, too.

They're usually called "useful idiots". They're not getting paid to deny science. They are persuaded by the people that are paid, and then uncritically repeat it.

Re:Secretly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927913)

Whatever happened to the careers of the scientists caught faking global warming evidence? Nothing.

Because it was found to be a tempest in a teapot instigated by the same people funding those scientists you complained about later.

Global warming/Climate change is nothing more than a Hegelian Dialectic that attempts to pidgeon-hole everyone into one of two camps of thought regarding supposed man made climate change while neither side says a peep about actual pollution, fracking, chemical leaks, oil spills, etc. etc.

Numerous people on the side you just complained about faking "global warming evidence" have spoken about all of those things.

Sorry, apparently you missed the shouting from the mountain top.

 

Re:Secretly? (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927627)

Was there somebody who didn't know this was going on? Petrochemical plutocrats were obviously behind this. In many cases they didn't even bother to hide.

"Knowing" this is going on based on faith and knowing this is going on based on evidence are two very different kinds of belief. This kind cannot be questioned away; indeed, it is the result of questioning, and it can only make belief stronger. It's news because now there is evidence. It's interesting because it's not illegal to fund climate research or publication, so they wouldn't need to hide their activity unless they knew they were up to something illegal, like perpetrating fraud.

Re:Secretly? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927759)

There's always been evidence of this, many people do it quite openly. That it's worse than we thought? Not really surprising. It's probably much worse still.

It's good to have some documented proof though.

Re:Secretly? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927807)

There's always been evidence of this, many people do it quite openly.

Now you're redefining "this". We now have evidence that specific people who did not previously appear to be funding climate denial are doing so. Don't move the goalposts, that's a logical fallacy. Knowing that other people were funding climate denial didn't prove that these people were funding climate denial.

Re:Secretly? (1, Insightful)

JWW (79176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927897)

So what?

People are funding client skeptics, and people are finding Climate Change studies.

As soon as you say - "you can't study that" to people who may disagree with the perceived status quo, you are limiting speech, period.

We understand so little about climate I think we can live with more funding from all sides, not just from those with preconceived notions.

Heck there was even that one skeptic funded study that concluded that there is global warming.

Re:Secretly? (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927963)

As soon as you say - "you can't study that" to people who may disagree with the perceived status quo, you are limiting speech, period.

No one is doing that. That was my point; it's not ostensibly illegal to do what they are doing, and many people are doing it openly, so why are they hiding it? Answer, they're concealing some type of fraud. Either they or their agents are claiming to be studying climate change to see what we can do about it and they're actually working against studying climate change and therefore they've put the lie to some of their earlier statements, or they explicitly knew that their money would be going to fund fraud and they were trying to keep this fact out of the public consciousness. Their goal is likely not to avoid prosecution (what are the odds of getting in trouble for junk science?) but simply to avoid being caught in the typical, non-actionable kind of fraud engaged in by politicians and businessmen every day.

Your logical fallacy is the straw man. Am I going to get a new logical fallacy with every reply to this thread? I would prefer some other prize, thanks.

Conspiracy Theorists Unite! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927591)

Also, we're under attack from interstellar aliens, who are hurling giant boulders at us.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927595)

Seems like a waste of money.
There seem to be fewer and fewer people who believe in this every day.
Now the money is running out for the global warming industry it's finally going away and we can get back to normal :)

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927955)

Hmm, what do you mean? Fewer people believe in global warming denialism? Fewer people believe that people deny global warming (I think you mean climate change caused by human activity)? Fewer people believe that people fund it? Or fewer people believe that climate change doesn't exist? And what evidence do you have that the people who cause climate change are losing funding?

ok... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927599)

Let me get this strait, conservative billionaires are funding groups that are trying to discredit groups funded by liberal billionaires and this is news?

Disclaimer: I have no doubts that climate change is happening and CO2 plays some role in that change.

Re:ok... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927775)

Disclaimer: I have no doubts that climate change is happening and CO2 plays some role in that change.

The greenhouse effect actually works? How is that possible??? Surely it's just a matter of opinion.

Only fair (5, Funny)

paiute (550198) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927629)

The secret billionaires are just trying to even the playing field against those fat cat scientists who are rolling in their trillions from government grants. Exxon is David against the NSF Goliath, man.

Re:Only fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927683)

Damn those Billionaire scientists and their lies!

Where do I sign up to get my $ from these conservative nut jobs?

Re:Only fair (4, Funny)

Grashnak (1003791) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927699)

All my billionaire scientist friends heat their homes by burning the trillions they get from grants. On special nights, they have big bonfires and invite the neighbourhood over to toast weenies over the money.

Re:Only fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927843)

what I find funny about this is that this research uses hard facts rather than exaderated scare tactics to achieve its results. Does anyone realy know what a 10c increse in global temature will really do to the globe, or how about that the evidence shows that that is a more comon ocurrance than our current state in global histoy. even if the artic melts the effects will only be minor to the majority of us. its the rich who may loose their beach front property as the shore line moves in a few feet, and a bit of india floods, provided we don't build walls to keep the ocean out like in New Orleans.

A fool and his money... (1)

zenasprime (207132) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927639)

...are soon parted.

Label them "Money laundering", (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927655)

And accuse them of hiding terrorist organizations....

Re:Label them "Money laundering", (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927861)

And accuse them of hiding terrorist organizations....

According to the NDAA and POTUS Executive Orders, all that is required is merely to label, not accuse, them as Domestic Terrorists. Then the US Federal Government can seize all their funds, detain them without warrant, and confiscate any assets associated with generating these funds.

Oh, that's right, the US government is already started on the confiscation of assets; POTUS has already declared all assets belong to all the communist people of America.

Names, dates, dollars, it's all on record. (3, Interesting)

elucido (870205) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927657)

So the network can be put through social network analysis to produce interesting facts. That data can be crunched, so who is going to crunch it?

Re:Names, dates, dollars, it's all on record. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927829)

Crunch? Who cares? This is pocket change for them.

Apparently a wide range of billionaires scraped together $120 mil... relative to what they actually have, that is nothing.

If you want to convince skeptics... (3, Insightful)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927659)

...don't demonize them as neo-Holocaust deniers. One-hundred twenty million, but is their side true? Address the facts, don't engage in ad hominem attacks.

Re:If you want to convince skeptics... (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927681)

You poor soul. You seem to think that convincing people of anything has to do with facts. The school of sophistry teaches us that he who makes the best sounding argument wins, and the facts be damned. If you want to be sure of a victory, appeal to basic emotions: anger, hatred, triumph...

Re:If you want to convince skeptics... (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928037)

That may work in cases where the facts under debate are hard to discern by direct measurement.

All it is here is a delaying measure. For the facts will become obvious over time.

Re:If you want to convince skeptics... (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927707)

Or not. Trying to reason with someone either not interested in reason, or who can't understand it, is bound to fail.

Usually, they're one of the semi-paranoid "the government is after us" type... show them that what's after them are the Big Corps and the secret billionaires.

Re:If you want to convince skeptics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927917)

As opposed to the frothing at the mouth AWG supporters who are of the paranoid "the rich are out to get us" as this article shows.

I have YET to hear a reasoned debate from an AWG supporter that can answer my simple questions wihthout having to resort to name calling first. I can only assume it is only lies at this point and an attempt to show everyone else that if you question them you too will be named a bigot. AWG is a hoax, it is so important to them them Al Gore sold his pro AWG cable TV chanel to "big oil". That move shows that AWG is only about making their leaders rich, not about making the world a better place.

Skeptics aren't the problem. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927725)

Address the facts, don't engage in ad hominem attacks.

Skeptics are not the problem. Skeptics address the facts and the data - and they are becoming more and more rare because the data is damning. It's the people electing and directing public policy. The real problem are the folks with "opinions" spoon fed to them by the lying, incompetent, and irresponsible media - ALL the MEDIA - but especially Fox News.

Listen to talk radio or watch Fox News sometime. I constanlty hear people (my neighbors) parrot what they say. They personally attack Al Gore and equate global warming with him. Actual facts or scientific data NEVER come up or if they do, it's a liberal conspiracy to tax more and for wealth transfer.

Ad Hominem attacks are perfectly "logical" to those people - actually to people in general (how many times have you seen people being called "fanboys", "scientologists", or whatever for having an unpopular opinion here!)

Add in the emotional hit of Liberal vs. Conservatives and BINGO you have a completely irrational response to an issue.

Re:If you want to convince skeptics... (4, Insightful)

SteveFoerster (136027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927735)

This. I'm one of the ones who really doesn't know what to believe, but every time I hear the term "denier" used in this amazingly offensive and inappropriate context I stop listening, because it makes it sound like the one saying it doesn't have actual dispassionate arguments and has to rely on ad hominem. I won't say I agree with the skeptics, but mocking them is the antithesis of science, not the defense of it.

Here's a longer, more nuanced verison of why crying "denier!" is anti-scientific [hiresteve.com] .

Re:If you want to convince skeptics... (5, Insightful)

siride (974284) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927793)

That article completely misses the point of why we use terms like "denier". The deniers are not people who having legitimate qualms with the theories and data behind AGW. Those are skeptics and those are fine to have and indeed important in the scientific process. The deniers are the people who *know* that AGW is wrong, or believe that it has to be wrong because the consequences are antithetical to their worldview (e.g., the idea that there could actually be downsides to American capitalism and industry) or for some other reason that has nothing to do with the science. That's denialism. These people would never be convinced by any amount of evidence in favor of AGW. They don't even care. As such, they are correctly labelled deniers.

Now, perhaps some AGW fans are too broad with their use of the term, and perhaps some of them forget their own equivalents -- those people who just *know* AGW is right because capitalism is evil, facts or no facts. And that's a sad truth. That doesn't diminish or destroy the usefulness or correctness of the term "denier".

Re:If you want to convince skeptics... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927975)

Whereas every time I hear somebody attacking a liberal/leftwinger/environmentalist for saying something rude, or hurtful, while being completely and utterly silent on the numerous ad hominem attacks instigated by conservative/rightwinger/denier I think of the bit of Fox News which Jon Stewart showed where some talking head on that got all upset about a Democrat using the term Nazi (or was it just a reference to Goebbels?) while claiming that's something that is the exclusive province of the Left, not something their side ever does.

This was then followed by Stewart showing clips of Fox Conservatives using Nazi references including the same one who just got done piously claiming she didn't.

Tell you what, when you can fairly chastise both sides, I'll give a crap about your opinion on the subject. Until you do, you're just adopting their hypocrisy as your own, posturing to a false sanctimony that really just discredits you.

Besides, calling somebody out on their lies and frauds is not an ad hominem attack. I know a bunch of trolls want you to believe they're being persecuted, that they're the victims (as should be no surprise, people with a nefarious agenda aren't stupid in the moronic way, they do recognize what works as an argument), but that's just part of their further deception.

And you believe it.

Stop swallowing the lies.

Free Speech (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927663)

Who gives a rats ass.... Slashdot should stick to technology....not the wacko retardo politics that they have devolved into. Democrats are even worse if you think they are here to help you... Liberty and Freedom is what makes Amerika great, not another over-reaching, pry-into-your-life-legislation that is suppose to protect your feeling from getting hurt. Slashdot must be filled with a bunch of nanny-state-do-gooders with too much time on your hands and never worked a real job since your mom let you outta the basement.

Re:Free Speech (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927723)

This. Combine it with the downmod system that gets misused to hide opinions some self-appointed people on the left disagree with, and presto!

A mechanically-enforced echo chamber for an online "social tribal community".

Who watches these watchmen who get bent out of shape at those who manipulate the media, except when it is themselves?

Re:Free Speech (4, Insightful)

cforciea (1926392) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927923)

Here's the problem. There have been thousands of societies that at one point had the sort of "Liberty and Freedom" that you are talking about, where there was little or no government to "nanny" people. Do you know what happened to all of those societies? Power centralized, and freedom went away.

The thing that historically has made our country great is specifically the government. We fill the power vacuum with a democratically elected government so that some rich cabal of people can't take power and use it so their "freedom" is maximized and yours is minimized. The problem is obviously that if you let said cabals get enough influence, with mass media and the internet being what they are, they gain a new route to that tyranny anyway: buy enough public opinion and you can directly manipulate a democracy.

So every single person in this country should give much more than a rat's ass when stories like this come up, because they directly relate to people trying to break the system that has protected your liberty and freedom for hundreds of years. And this isn't really about parties. I think that the conservative movement in this country has some properties that make this sort of action happen more frequently from their direction, but we should be vigilant against similar manipulation from anybody.

I agree that Liberty and Freedom are what makes this country great. But right now, you are defending the Koch brothers' freedom to try to steal your freedom from you.

What next (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927669)

Yikes, next they might build a ship that their activists can use to chase climate scientists around the world and harass them!

The Sheep Look Up (4, Informative)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927689)

I just finished reading the excellent novel "The Sheep Look Up", written in 1972 by John Brunner. I was amazed at the many parallels between the novel's dystopian vision and today's environmental issues. Even though some of the novel's environmental issues were mitigated (at least in the West) by education and regulation (DDT, leaded gasoline, smog, etc), many continue to this day. One thing that struck me particularly was the collusion of big business in denying that environmental issues exist and the draconian measures they went to to discredit and silence their critics. Also striking was government's powerlessness to act in the face of lobbying and bullying by big business.

A recommended read, as appropriate today as it was 40 years ago.

Re:The Sheep Look Up (1)

tp1024 (2409684) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928007)

The one thing that strikes me these days, is the way how the exact same people who solved the problems you are talking about - DDT, leaded gasoline, smog etc. - are still demonized and portait as plotting to destroy the earth.

They are car companies installing catalytic converters, oil companies developing anti-knocking agents without lead, power companies installing filters in their power plants, companies building spraycans, freezers, air-conditioners, styrofoam etc without CFCs and so on.

Are we so naive? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927705)

No one need tell us that somethig change in climate in 25 years. In Brazil, when I was a kid at 5 at the beach, the only kind of sun protection my mother and lots of mothers used in hers sons was a stripe of a talk-based cream on the nose of the children. I stayed 3, maybe 4 hours in the direct sunlight of the beach and the worse thing that could happen was became a little pinky. Today If I go to a jungle where there is lots of shadows in a rainy day and not use a suncream of at least 20 FPS, I will lost my skin and lirerally became untouchable for 4 days.

I think the problem is not only misinformation, it is political inertia, specially in Brazil. Sh*t, we are f*cked robbed every single day by ours politicians and we do nothing.
In USA the problem looks even worse, because of the incidence of hurricanes, snow storms and tornados. But I see no one give a sh*t or take any step in change nothing. Probably we will live inside a dome before somebody take a attitude. including me.

Re:Are we so naive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928033)

Climate change causes solar UV radiation to increase? Huh?

In other news (3, Funny)

Grashnak (1003791) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927713)

This just in.... billionaires think the minimum wage is just fine where it is. Film at 11.

on the other had (0)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927747)

On the other had billions are funneled into the pro-climate change groups.

Kind of proves the point (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927751)

If they are willing to spend over a hundred million denying it then it's pretty obvious it's real. These aren't the kind of people to throw money away unless they were afraid of the evidence they were trying to suppress.

Re:Kind of proves the point (4, Insightful)

taxman_10m (41083) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928015)

No, I don't think it follows that strenuous denial of a thing is tantamount to secret tacit acceptance. That's like saying Richard Dawkins is secretly a theist because he's so vocal about not being one.

The real reason to question the sincerity of the denial by these billionaires is the stated aim: "We exist to help donors promote liberty which we understand to be limited government, personal responsibility, and free enterprise." They don't exist to promote science. They don't exist to even promote facts. They exist to promote a goal, and if facts and science interfere with said goal, they are to be cast aside. I consider myself to be mostly conservative and somewhat libertarian, but it seems that liberty minded people have trouble dealing with anything that is a global problem. A problem of such scope necessarily requires top down policy that is anathema to people who don't want to see any policy much less one with global aims. Because the solution to a global problem is unpalatable the response of such people is to deny the problem. It doesn't really matter that the issue is global warming. It may as well be an extinction level asteroid headed for central Africa. It's problematic nature would be denied until it can no longer be denied with one's own eyes (a point we appear to be reaching with global warming).

Let me get this straight... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927763)

...you're upset because people are providing funding for political positions they believe in, and that some of those positions are self-serving?

Did you arrive on Earth yesterday? And do you honestly think that conservative groups are the only people doing this?

Is this a conspiracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927783)

I thought we weren't supposed in conspiracy theories.

Companies Control yet again (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927895)

Yet another way that the elite try to control the sheep. Welcome our new overlords, until there is a violent revolution. which I welcome. Death to the Company, Capitalism is a fraud, it is a dream, something given by our new overlords to govern us and enslave us yet again. Bah, bah black sheep, have you any wool, yes sir, yes sir, three bags full..

Climate change is funded by MORE corp/gov grants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927903)

The forces promoting man-made climate change theory are being funded by BILLIONS from government and corporations. Government stands to gain tremendous regulatory authority via the climate-change game. Several corporations, like General Electric, stand to benefit from fascist laws granting them monopolies in the "green economy".....so, there is a lot of graft/corruption on both sides. IMHO, more graft and corruption on the pro-manmade climate change side.

Re:Climate change is funded by MORE corp/gov grant (3, Insightful)

cforciea (1926392) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928029)

IMHO, more graft and corruption on the pro-manmade climate change side.

Luckily for me, there is actual data to examine, so I can safely ignore your humble opinion.

Unluckily for me, there are millions of tools just like you who are perfectly happy to eyeball it and trust their gut reaction when there is perfectly good data around to examine, and you all get to vote, too.

Enviro-tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927909)

Frankly as long as this helps keep the enviro-taxation down i'm all for it.
I outright object to my wages being taken from me, reducing my lifestyle i work so hard to get, just to pretend we can stop an irreversible process.

Why should i pay through the nose when china, texas and india produce more CO2 than nearly the rest of the planet combined.

Follow the money (4, Insightful)

BergZ (1680594) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927927)

There's this game that "skeptics" of the scientific theory of Global Climate Change like to play.
They assume that climatologists have come to their conclusions (that the Earth is warming due to greenhouse gas emissions and human activity is partly responsible) because the scientists (they say) "were paid by people and governments to come to that conclusion".
While us "warmists" have been providing the scientific evidence; the "skeptics", on the other hand, argue politics "follow the MONEY!!!" (they say)
The problem is that when you do take their advice and the money leads to conservative billionaires, the Heartland Institute [guardian.co.uk] , Exxon Mobil [guardian.co.uk] (Fossil Fuel industries), and others who have a financial and political interest in denying the science of Climate Change:
All of a sudden the "skeptics" want us to forget about following the money!

Personal Responsibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42927931)

So they're advocating accepting personal responsibility for climate change? That's very generous!

slap-down the climate nancy-boiz (1)

noshellswill (598066) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927933)

So cosmopolitan Goldberg doesn't like her climate-fag pimps getting the scratchy end of-the-bush shoved up their lib.com azzwholes.  She creams on  uniform emotocentric gush and feels ... now ...  lonely ...  Da po' po' pooh! Too feckin-A bad that wealthy, productive  folks are finally doing something useful for displaced, poor productive folks. Now should the **builders**  class  assert their rightful, dominant status and put an iron-bootheel to the Gaia.fairies  ..... 

Political Science (1)

h8sg8s (559966) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927937)

You speak of "neutral science" as if there were such a thing. As soon as politicians (of all stripes) saw this as a means of seeing their power increase/decrease it became a political football, not science. Riddle me this; if there were no careers to be made and no funding to be won, as well as no shift in the existing economic power structure, how much would anyone care about this? How much would the warring factions spend? When the hysteria ends and more data becomes available, we can all make rational scientific decisions about this. Until then it's just a freak show on both sides.

what is going to be funny is (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about a year and a half ago | (#42927939)

when the earth can no longer produce crops and livestock all start dieing off and the air can no longer be breathed and water no longer drinkable the rich will die too, (not just the poor) the rich might hang around a little longer because of the resources but they wont be far behind when it comes to a mass extinction event we all lose both rich & poor

Re:what is going to be funny is (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928039)

carbon dioxide is a nutrient. higher temperatures means more plant growth. look at crop yields over the last century, geometric increase.

Bad journalism (1, Insightful)

Jiro (131519) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928023)

Unless they surveyed all billionaires, and found that billionaires contributed disproportionately to groups that don't believe in global warming (which they didn't, of course), this headline is about as misleading as saying "billionaires contribute to anti-corporate groups to discredit opponents" or "billionaires kill cute puppies". But then a headline which says "billionaires believe in and contribute to all sorts of causes just like everyone else, and we're pointing to the causes we don't like" doesn't get a lot of ad views.

Just another shill piece, nothing to see here... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928057)

TFA was a bait piece and looks like everyone so far has fallen for it hook, line and sinker. Opening paragraph from TFA:
"Conservative billionaires used a secretive funding route to channel nearly $120 million to more than 100 groups casting doubt about the science behind climate change, the Guardian has learned."

There are only two supporting quotes detailing the specific allegations against these groups:
"...those conservative donors have been pushing funds towards organizations working to discredit climate science or block climate action."

"By 2010, the dark money amounted to $118 million distributed to 102 think tanks or action groups which have a record of denying the existence of a human factor in climate change, or opposing environmental regulations."

Both statements make the same point. Both contain an OR clause, and both OR clauses are worded to include even those who agree 100% with the science but disagree about the chosen regulatory solution. TFA is stuffed to the gills with emotional hot-button rhetoric. Looks like even otherwise clear-headed rational thinkers are susceptible to well-crafted leading statements.

Who owns the media (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928063)

http://www.progressiveliving.org/mass_media_and_politics.htm

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