Cassandra has moved. Ugo Bardi publishes now on a new site called "The Seneca Effect."

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Burning the skeptics: a false flag campaign against the concept of man made global warming

You may have seen the disgusting "no-pressure" video of last year, where global warming skeptics were made to explode in a burst of blood. Now, there comes a new one, similar. It is "Combustible," where we see a climate skeptic catching fire, turning into ashes, and leaving only his eyeballs on the sidewalk. "Combustible" is just slightly less disgusting than "No Pressure" was and perhaps a bit more subtle. Here, the hapless skeptic burns by itself, whereas in the earlier movie we actually see environmentalists pushing the kill button. But the message of both movies is exactly the same: environmentalists are murderers who enjoy seeing people suffering. Indeed, "Combustible" was understood in this way in the comments to it at the WUWT site

Who made this crap? Apparently, it was created by a professional advertising agency, "Realm." But there is a problem here: even if it does it "pro bono", an advertising agency acts on the basis of a request from a customer. An agency, in itself, doesn't have the competency to devise a campaign from scratch. Indeed, when Realm created an environmental ad in 2009 it was for a real and traceable environmental association, Earthshare of Georgia. But for the "Combustible" video there is no such traceable sponsor. At the end of the movie, you can read "" But, at present, there doesn't exist a site with that name and the link only leads you to Bill Clinton's climate initiative, where (obviously) you find no trace of this video. WUWT suggests that the video originates from WWF, but, again, the the link provided only leads to an announcement of an open position and there no trace of this video in the whole WWF site. Another link  supposed to identify the sponsors leads only to a speech  of President Obama on climate change. It is a game of mirrors: there is no way to know who is behind this video.

So, how come that this video is "orphan" in the sense that it cannot be linked to any known (or even newly born) environmental organization? I think the most obvious explanation is that "Combustible" is a fake environmental movie. It is, actually, a false flag video designed to smear the environmental movement, depicting its members as murderers. Of course, if we reason in scientific terms, there is no way to prove this statement. In scientific terms, whatever cannot be proven must be considered dubious. However, there is a old rule which may not be scientific but which I think applies to the present case (and to "No Preessure" as well). It says that when you start feeling that you are being cheated, most likely you are.

In a previous post of mine, I was noting how the skeptic position on climate change is based mainly on narrative: fancy stories designed to distract people from the reality of the scientific results. I argued that the main narrative behind skepticism is that global warming does not exist; it is only a hoax created by a group of evil scientists who manipulated the data in order to keep money flowing into their fat research grants, as demonstrated by the Climategate mails. But that is not the only story told by skeptics (charitably defined in this way). Videos such as "Combustible" and "No pressure" are part of another narrative created with the purpose of painting environmentalists as a group of monsters who want to destroy most of humankind in order to create their green utopia. It is nothing new; the same lie was used against the 1972 study "The Limits to Growth" whose authors and sponsors were presented as planning to exterminate most of humankind. It is pure fiction, of course, but it is an effective weapon to undermine the credibility of the environmental movement and of climate science.

The people who conceived these videos, whoever they are, are clearly willing to use any means available for their purpose. They are obviously adept at the task and well financed, too. Against this kind of attacks, we are facing a difficult battle: it is hard to fight comfortable narratives with inconvenient truths. But it is also true that these spin campaigns can backfire. The minimum we can do is to expose these tricks when we see them appearing. Eventually, truth will win.


Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome, faculty member of the University of Florence, and the author of "Extracted" (Chelsea Green 2014), "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017), and Before the Collapse (Springer 2019)