Written by Roy W. Spencer
January 27, 2009
by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.
The methods used by global warming alarmists to convince you that more carbon dioxide is going to ruin the Earth are increasingly laced with insults and attacks directed toward anyone who might disagree with them. For instance, one of the many intellectually lazy (& false) claims is that I am paid by Big Oil.
Mr. Gore's tactics have been a little more subtle, and reminiscent of propaganda methods which have proved to be effective throughout history at influencing public opinion. One should keep in mind that his main scientific adviser, NASA's James Hansen, has the most extreme views of any climate researcher when it comes to predicting a global warming induced Armageddon.
Listed below are ten propaganda techniques I have excerpted from Wikipedia. Beneath each are one or more examples of Mr. Gore's rhetoric as he has attempted to goad the rest of us into reducing our CO2 emissions. Except where indicated, most quotes are from his testimony before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, March 21, 2007. (Mr. Gore is scheduled to testify again tomorrow, January 28, 2009, before the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee...if the cold and snowy weather doesn't cause them to reschedule.)
Appeal to fear: Appeals to fear seek to build support by instilling anxieties and panic in the general population.
"I want to testify today about what I believe is a planetary emergency-a crisis that threatens the survival of our civilization and the habitability of the Earth."
Appeal to authority: Appeals to authority cite prominent figures to support a position, idea, argument, or course of action. Also, Testimonial: Testimonials are quotations, in or out of context, especially cited to support or reject a given policy, action, program, or personality. The reputation or the role (expert, respected public figure, etc.) of the individual giving the statement is exploited.
"Just six weeks ago, the scientific community, in its strongest statement to date, confirmed that the evidence of warming is unequivocal. Global warming is real and human activity is the main cause."
"The scientists are virtually screaming from the rooftops now. The debate is over! There's no longer any debate in the scientific community about this." (from An Inconvenient Truth)
Bandwagon: Bandwagon and "inevitable-victory" appeals attempt to persuade the target audience to join in and take the course of action that "everyone else is taking". Also, Join the crowd: This technique reinforces people's natural desire to be on the winning side. This technique is used to convince the audience that a program is an expression of an irresistible mass movement and that it is in their best interest to join.
"Today, I am here to deliver more than a half million messages to Congress
asking for real action on global warming. More than 420 Mayors have now
adopted Kyoto-style commitments in their cities and have urged strong federal action. The evangelical and faith communities have begun to take the lead, calling for measures to protect God's creation. The State of California, under a Republican Governor and a Democratic legislature, passed strong, economy wide legislation mandating cuts in carbon dioxide. Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia have passed renewable energy standards for the electricity sector."
Flag-waving: An attempt to justify an action on the grounds that doing so will make one more patriotic, or in some way benefit a group, country, or idea. Also, Inevitable victory: invites those not already on the bandwagon to join those already on the road to certain victory. Those already or at least partially on the bandwagon are reassured that staying aboard is their best course of action.
"After all, we have taken on problems of this scope before. When England and then America and our allies rose to meet the threat of global Fascism, together we won two wars simultaneously in Europe and the Pacific."
Ad Hominem attacks: A Latin phrase which has come to mean attacking your opponent, as opposed to attacking their arguments. Also Demonizing the "enemy": Making individuals from the opposing nation, from a different ethnic group, or those who support the opposing viewpoint appear to be subhuman.
"You know, 15 percent of people believe the moon landing was staged on some movie lot and a somewhat smaller number still believe the Earth is flat. They get together on Saturday night and party with the global-warming deniers." (October 24, 2006, Seattle University)
Appeal to Prejudice: Using loaded or emotive terms to attach value or moral goodness to believing the proposition.
"And to solve this crisis we can develop a shared sense of moral purpose." (June 21, 2006, London, England)
Black-and-White fallacy: Presenting only two choices, with the product or idea being propagated as the better choice.
"It is not a question of left vs. right; it is a question of right vs. wrong." (July 1, 2007, New York Times op-ed)
Euphoria: The use of an event that generates euphoria or happiness, or using an appealing event to boost morale:
Live Earth concerts organized worldwide in 2007 by Al Gore.
Falsifying information: The creation or deletion of information from public records, in the purpose of making a false record of an event or the actions of a person or organization. Pseudo-sciences are often used to falsify information.
"Nobody is interested in solutions if they don't think there's a problem. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous (global warming) is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis." (May 9, 2006 Grist interview)
Stereotyping or Name Calling or Labeling: This technique attempts to arouse prejudices in an audience by labeling the object of the propaganda campaign as something the target audience fears, hates, loathes, or finds undesirable. Also, Obtain disapproval: This technique is used to persuade a target audience to disapprove of an action or idea by suggesting that the idea is popular with groups hated, feared, or held in contempt by the target audience
"There are many who still do not believe that global warming is a problem at all. And it's no wonder: because they are the targets of a massive and well-organized campaign of disinformation lavishly funded by polluters who are determined to prevent any action to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming out of a fear that their profits might be affected if they had to stop dumping so much pollution into the atmosphere." (January 15, 2004, New York City)