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Attacks on scientists and policymakers who address climate change are becoming both more brazen and more imperceptible


Attacks on climate scientists and policymakers who are trying to address climate change are becoming both more brazen and more imperceptible. Witness the madness of US Senator James Inhofe, author of The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, and who is once again the chairman of the Environment and Public Works committee. In January he voted (along with 97 other Senators) to acknowledge that “climate change is real and not a hoax,” though he quickly clarified that the climate is always changing, not that humanity is changing the climate. The next month, he brought a snowball into the US Senate and cited it as proof that global warming is not happening.

But Inhofe is just the most visible face of denialism. Far more pernicious are the subtle changes in law and language that is making addressing climate change very difficult indeed. In Florida, for example, government officials have been ordered to not even mention global warming. And in North Carolina, lawmakers changed the law to prevent government officials from using current sea level rise projections in policymaking. These developments feel more out of 1984 than 2015, and would be laughable if they didn’t doom the coasts of these two states to a drowned future.

As crazy as all this is, there has also been some pushback. For example, the LA Times declared a few years back that it would no longer publish climate change denial letters. And The Guardian took a bold step for a media outlet last March—actively participating in an effort to promote divestment from fossil fuels and keep those fuels “in the ground.”

— Erik Assadourian is a Senior Fellow with Worldwatch Institute, sustainability researcher, and contributing editor to Adbusters.

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