Newly obtained documents reveal that a group that lobbied on behalf of the oil, coal and auto industry intentionally misled the public about the causes of global warming during the mid-nineties, The New York Times reports.
The Global Climate Coalition spent millions of dollars in the nineties running ads to convince the public that global warming was not caused by humans and that joining the Kyoto Protocol was a mistake. However, its own internal documents said, “The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied.”
The Global Climate Coalition said it represented 6 million businesses. Amongst them was Amoco, the American Forest & Paper Association, American Petroleum Institute, Chevron, Chrysler, Cyprus AMAX Minerals, Exxon, Ford, General Motors, Shell Oil, Texaco, American Electric Power, Dow, Dupont, Royal Dutch Shell, Ford, Daimler Chrysler, Southern Company, Texaco and General Motors.
The coalition disbanded in 2002, when it was apparent that global warming was caused by humans, and many of the company’s CEOs were publicly saying so. By that point most companies had dropped their support. The head of the GCC went on to lead the American Petroleum Institute. He denied any nefarious activity on the GCC’s part to the Times.
While this isn’t on the level of cigarette companies denying that their products caused cancer, it is an important reminder that industries will try to manipulate public thought. With a fresh round of public debate beginning over cap and trade, the conversation will focus on how much we ought to pay. The same industries that said there is no such thing as global warming, will now tell us that paying for carbon emissions will cripple them and create a tax for you. Will you trust them?
Keep in mind, the GCC ran ads that said, “Americans will pay the price … 50¢ more for every gallon of gasoline,” if Kyoto was ratified. That sounds a lot like what we’re already being to hear once again.
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