Global Warming Think Tanks
There are many conservative think tanks in various parts of the world that seek to undermine the case for global warming preventative measures. Think tanks are generally private, tax-exempt, research institutes that present themselves as providing impartial disinterested expertise. However think tanks generally tailor their studies to suit their clients or donors.
Conservative think tanks have played a major role in turning global warming into a non-problem, not just because they receive a substantial amount of funding from fossil-fuel interests (see for example Exxon Mobil) but also because mandatory greenhouse gas reductions are against their ideology of free markets, economic growth and less government regulation. To this end they have:
- disputed global warming science
- claimed global warming will be slight and could be beneficial
- argued that greenhouse gas reduction regulations will do more harm than good
Corporate-funded think tanks have played a key role in providing credible ‘experts’ who dispute scientific claims of existing or impending environmental degradation and therefore provide enough doubts to ensure governments ‘lack motivation’ to act. These dissident scientists, usually not atmospheric scientists, argue there is “widespread disagreement within the scientific community” about global warming.
McCright and Dunlap found that 14 conservative US think tanks circulated 224 documents on global warming between 1990 and 1997, including policy studies, books, press releases and newspaper opinion pieces. Their 'experts' appeared on television programs and radio advertisements (see for example, CEI advertisements) and testified at eight major congressional hearings on global warming. In the lead up to the Kyoto climate change conference they sponsored policy forums to which politicians were invited, gave speeches and held press conferences.