Chaneling Michael Crichton

Someone in Washington, D.C is reading Michael Crichton’s State of Fear, and taking it seriously, at least the parts about building fear to influence public opinion.

Recently, there has been an uptick (dare I say a “tipping point?”) in press hyperbole about climate change, with a distinct message drift away from emphasis on climate science and toward making the proposed effects of climate change personal.

From Joseph Lieberman, to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), to the Aspen Institute, the word is going out to “reframe the national dialogue about climate change in personal terms that people can relate to.” (The Colorado Independent)

Taking a page directly from State of FearPolitico reports, “the Union of Concerned Scientists sent experts out earlier this month to Washington and New York for meetings with reporters from 60 Minutes, Time, USA Today, Reuters, Bloomberg, MSNBC and other news organizations.” (Climate Change Heats Up)

The UCS even has a page refuting Crichton’s conclusions in State of Fear, in a section titled “Global Warming Contrarians,” baldly supporting the “consensus” interpretation of climate science as expressed by the IPCC, and stating “Readers may understandably take away some misconceptions from his book. To clear up these misconceptions, we have selected some representative cases to discuss.”

Even religious fundamentalists are jumping on the global warming bandwagon. EPA Chief Lisa Jackson urged U.S. government and religious leaders to unite in their “moral obligation” to heal the planet and “build on the religious and moral reasons for being good stewards of our environment….  We will continue to seek the input of faith communities in the decisions we make. And we also plan to align our efforts with the Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership through the White House.”

Those who seek to influence policy makers in favor of anthropogenic global warming have abandoned their shaky interpretations of climate change science and have chosen instead to bring home the fear to every US citizen in their local communities and homes. Senator Joe Lieberman thinks we should have more TV and radio commercials showing most eye-catching images. “Just show people what’s happening,” he said. “Show them satellite pictures of the ice caps.”

The push is undoubtedly in response to recent polls showing that interest in anthropogenic global warming is declining in the American public, striking fear in the pocketbooks of those who seek to profit from fear of climate change.

There are billions of dollars riding on the outcome, as forecasts with real teeth, those predicting declines in global petroleum production, become increasingly verified each day. ExxonMobil, BP (Beyond Petroleum) and Chevron saw the writing on the wall a long time ago. They know their future petrodollars have a finite limit and they are seeking to build continuing profits by monopolizing access to widely dispersed energy sources such as wind and solar.

Don’t be confused by the rhetoric. “Climate deniers, contrarians and skeptics” are defending science, not attacking it. Those science organizations, Big Green environmental groups, academic administrations, corporations, investors, policymakers and politicians who have staked their reputations, and their fortunes, on a massive technology changeover to global “carbon-free” energy have the most to gain from widespread fear of climate change, and the promise that we can “stop global warming” with technology.

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