Our guest blogger is Alexandra Kougentakis, a Center for American Progress Action Fund Fellows Assistant.
This week in New York City, the Heartland Institute is holding its “International Conference on Climate Change,” a gathering for VIPs of the climate denial movement. Despite the extremist positions taken by speakers at the conference, funding and support comes from the top echelons of the conservative movement, including the Heritage Foundation and Americans for Prosperity. Unfortunately, these climate skeptics can’t even agree with each other:
Some concede that humans probably contribute to global warming but they argue that the shift in temperatures poses no urgent risk. Others attribute the warming, along with cooler temperatures in recent years, to solar changes or ocean cycles.
Most of the speakers hail from conservative think tanks like the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute, and the Science and Public Policy Institute, repeating last year’s effort with the same long-debunked arguments. Keynote speaker Richard Lindzen, a professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, rallied his fellow deniers by with the Tinkerbell strategy: “We will eventually win against anthropogenic global warming alarm simply because we are right and they are wrong.”
Lindzen is a particular favorite of the deniers for his academic credentials — but his ties to Big Oil and conservative ideology might have more to do with his positions on climate. Industrial polluters from OPEC to the Western Fuels Association have paid him generous consulting fees. Lindzen is on the record for describing Exxon Mobil, who has spent $16 million funding the climate denier industry, as “the only principled oil and gas company I know in the US.”