Selling Doubt In Canada Works When It Comes To Climate Change

A few days ago, I noted an article from the CBC in Canada that quoted a new report from The European Space Agency.

Among other things, this report stated that:

“Arctic sea ice is melting at a pace so much faster than once thought that the latest projections say it might disappear by as soon as 2022, according to measurements from the European Space Agency.”

“ This rate of loss is 50% higher than most scenarios outlined by polar scientists and suggests that global warming, triggered by rising greenhouse gas emissions, is beginning to have a major impact on the region.”

So, why would anyone sell doubt about an issue as large as climate change?

Interestingly, the ESA report itself may contain a hint:

“In a few years the Arctic ocean could be free of ice in summer, triggering a rush to exploit its fish stocks, oil, minerals and sea routes.”

The chance to exploit resources and make money. Remember this point as you read on, and ask yourself, who would benefit?

Fast forward a few days to Canada’s conservative newspaper The National Post where the headline reads:

“Climate change is real, Canadians say, but they can’t agree on the cause”

Key points in the article are:

  • Almost every Canadian surveyed in the online Insightrix Research poll said they believe climate change is happening, but a clear rift emerged on the more specific, and politically important, question of whether humans or natural factors, or some combination, is the catalyst.
  • 32% of Canadians think climate change is occurring because of human activity
  • 54% think it is happening because of both human and natural causes
  • 9% think only nature is responsible
  • 2% think climate change is not happening at all
  • Those in Western Canada are far less likely to think it is man-made *

So, a report about the melting Arctic appears and almost immediately, we have a new poll showing that average Canadians don’t know for sure why?

Interesting.  Let’s dig a little deeper.

The poll was commissioned by IPAC-CO2.  Who are they anyway?  From their website:

IPAC-CO2 Research Inc., the International Performance Assessment Centre for Geologic Storage of Carbon Dioxide, is an environmental non-government organization (ENGO) created to provide independent risk and performance assessments of CO2 storage projects.

OK.  Sounds great!  But who are they really?

“Shell is a founding member of the Australian Government’s proposed Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute and involved in a range of CCS related projects including[1]:

“the International Performance Assessment Centre for Geologic Storage of CO2 (IPAC-CO2) in Canada, with the University of Regina and the Government of the province of Saskatchewan;

Wait!  Shell funds the research company.

And who is the pollster?

Insightrix Research, a company that just happens to be based in both Saskatchewan and Australia!

What a coincidence.

By the way, this is the same polling firm that released an almost identical poll of Saskatchewan residents in July 2012. It too was commissioned by IPAC-CO2.

But why?

If you have read the book Doubt Is Their Product by David Michaels, then you already know that hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent since the days of Big Tobacco (denying cigarettes caused cancer), on various efforts to mislead the public.  These include the ozone hole debate and now climate change.

As it pertains to climate change, nobody has written a better explanation than Dr. Jeff Masters at Weather Underground.  He explains in detail how the Manufactured Doubt Industry has swayed public opinion to favor their backer.

Until you understand how Hills and Knowlton invented Public Relations Doubt, you can’t begin to understand how to make sense of the news being sent your way every single day.

It is required reading for any Wary Lemming.

So how does this all relate to the story today in the National Post?

I’ve already written at length about being wary when it comes to your news source.  As the National Post has proven itself, it has little regard for facts, and is far more interested in pursuing an editorial agenda.

The opening line of their story reads: “Canadians are far from a consensus on what causes climate change…”

Yes.  Doubt!  Canadians can’t agree, Canadians aren’t sure…. So you shouldn’t be either! Nothing is settled!

Meanwhile, other news outlets lead with the idea that  “only 2% of Canadians believe that climate change is not occurring.”

Different take on the same information isn’t it?

Unfortunately, those in the 2% and the 9% camps can be found commenting in the forums at the National Post.  As for the rest of Canadians, they have been forced to endure a targeted misinformation campaign led, in this case, by Shell and supported by their own Conservative government using overtly biased news organizations like the National Post.

And the results are starting to show up in polls like this.

Know your news source and above all – be a Wary Lemming. It’s much better than being an ostrich.


* likely because they are the ones benefitting from oil, gas and coal.