The Organisation of Denial: Conservative Think Tanks and Environmental Scepticism [PDF] has got some interesting things to say:*
Environmental scepticism denies the seriousness of environmental problems, and self-professed 'sceptics' claim to be unbiased analysts combating 'junk science'. This study quantitatively analyses 141 English-language environmentally sceptical books published between 1972 and 2005. We find that over 92 per cent of these books, most published in the US since 1992, are linked to conservative think tanks (CTTs). Further, we analyse CTTs involved with environmental issues and find that 90 per cent of them espouse environmental scepticism. We conclude that scepticism is a tactic of an elite-driven counter-movement designed to combat environmentalism, and that the successful use of this tactic has contributed to the weakening of US commitment to environmental protection.The authors' basic premise is that environmental skeptics are blocking scientific evidence because such evidence would help eager governments (and push reluctant governments to) impose regulations that would affect business and social conduct, i.e., [p 354]:
environmental scepticism consists of four key themes. First, environmental scepticism is defined by its denial of the seriousness of environmental problems and dismissal of scientific evidence documenting these problems. This primary theme sets environmental scepticism apart from earlier environmental opposition movements like the US ‘wise use movement’ and ‘sage brush rebellion’. Second, environmental scepticism draws upon the first theme to question the importance of environmentally protective policies. Third, environmental scepticism endorses an anti-regulatory/anti-corporate liability position that flows from the first two claims. Lastly, environmental sceptics often cast environmental protection as threatening Western progress.They accomplish that goal by arguing that a consensus on global warming does not exist, e.g., [p. 356]:
CTTs were able to create a situation in which major media outlets portrayed climate science as an evenly divided debate between sceptics and non-sceptics employing what McCright and Dunlap term the ‘duelling scientists’ version of the balancing norm. The result is that US media have given disproportionate attention to the views of a small number of global warming sceptics, and as a consequence have been significantly more likely than media in other industrial nations to portray global warming as a controversial issue characterised by scientific uncertaintyBut, "fair and balanced" is not the only technique. Some CTTs actively oppose the release of "hostile" information, e.g., "the Competitive Enterprise Institute sued the federal government twice to suppress the release of the US National Assessment of Climate Change, a comprehensive report begun under the Clinton Administration" [p. 357].
These games piss me off. Climate change (and other environmental issues) are already complicated enough, and we need all the data, opinion and argument we can get. Trying to stop that debate for fear of the potential results is not only scandalous and despicable, but also betrays the missions of so many CTTs -- to contribute to the liberty and prosperity of humanity.
The one way that you do not contribute to liberty is by taking it away, or as Mr. Franklin put it: "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Bottom Line: The CTTs have deluded themselves into believing that their means (the use of Soviet prop/agit methods) were acceptable in pursuit of their ends (smaller government). Instead, their actions border on treason.**
Thanks to DS for the tip
* I have cut out literature references from these excerpts.
** This whole topic reminds me of the Bush/Cheney/Neocon decision to invade Iraq (for any reason). I support those who accuse them of treason.