Climate Front Group Ignored Its Own Scientists

An internal document (pdf) of the Global Climate Coalition (GCC) -- an industry front group that disbanded in 2002 -- reveals that when the group chose to promote doubt about the reality of global warming it was ignoring the views of its own scientific advisers. In a backgrounder distributed to members of Congress and journalists in the 1990s, the GCC stated that “the role of greenhouse gases in climate change is not well understood," though it added the qualifier that scientists disagreed on the issue. However, an internal document obtained as part of a court action against the automobile industry indicates that the GCC's advisers disagreed. '“The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied,” they wrote.


The New York Times added an editors' note to this story on May 2, which clarified that the Global Climate Coalition had put out a revised version of the public backgrounder that -- unlike the earlier memo cited in the Times story -- "acknowledged the consensus that greenhouse gases could contribute to warming. What scientists disagreed about, it said, was 'the rate and magnitude of the "enhanced greenhouse effect" (warming) that will result.' The coalition did, however, as the article reported, remove from an internal report by the scientific advisory committee a section that said that 'contrarian' theories of why global temperatures appeared to be rising 'do not offer convincing arguments against the conventional model of greenhouse gas emission-induced climate change.' After the later, amended version of the backgrounder was published, the coalition continued to question the scientific evidence that greenhouse gas emissions could heat the planet enough to justify sharp cuts in emissions."