Mashey on Oreskes (Guest posting)

John Mashey sends along the following. (Note that I am not the farmboy in question. I never roped a steer ’cause I don’t know how, and I sure ain’t fixin’ to start in now…) –mt

Synopsis of Naomi Oreskes:
( 40 minutes )

Naomi is an award-winning geoscientist/science historian, a Professor at
UCSD and as of July, promoted to Provost of of the Sixth College there. She
is also a meticulous researcher, as seen from past books, and from having
reviewed a few chapters of the book she mentions in the talk. She unearthed
some fascinating memos, although of course, impossible to replicate the
exhaustive database of tobacco documents.

If you haven’t seen her earlier 58-minute video, The American
Denial of Global Warming”
, you might watch that first. It’s first half
is a longer version of the development of climate science, and the second
half is about the George C. Marshall Institute.

This talk has about 10 minutes of background, and the rest is new material
on the Western Fuels Association.]

The video production isn’t flashy, but it’s good enough. The lecture room
was packed, I had to stand. Interesting people attended.

This, of course, is an informal seminar talk – for the thorough
documentation, you’ll have to await the book.


00:00 Background [fairly familiar, some overlap with earlier talk]

10:30 1988, Hansen in Congress, IPCC starts

11:05 “Tobacco strategy” to challenge science

I.e., use of similar techniques, sometimes by same people

14:50 Western Fuels Association (Power River coal companies)

Sophisticated marketing campaign in test markets

17:20 1991 – WFA creates ICE – Information Council for Environment

ICE ~ Tobacco Industry Research Council (TIRC) –
See Allan M. Brandt, “The Cigarette Century”

21:00 WFA print campaign

23:00 Scientists are more believable than coal people, so use scientists,
create memes

25:30 WFA produces video “The Greening of Earth”, provides many copies

The Greening Earth Society (astroturf); more CO2 is good for the whole
Earth Excerpts from video

30:00- Video shows the Sahara turning completetely green

32:20- “Plants have been eating CO2 and they’re starved”
Discussion of circumstances under which CO2 does help and illustration of
marketing tactics, cherry-picking, etc. I.e., how does one use a few
tidbits of real science to create an impression very different form the
overview? Are there lessons for scientists?

40:00 end


[Speaking as an old farmboy, plants need sun, water, soil, nutrients, and
CO2, and sometimes right climate, i.e., sugar maples need cold. The Sahara
will not be a new cornbelt, no matter how high CO2 goes.]