“I think that there is a group of people out there whose goal it is to make the policy debate over climate change toxic, just like Social Security, just like Medicare reform; this thing that if you talk about it, you’re just going to get creamed.”
—Andrew Dressler, professor of atmospheric studies at Texas A&M
This past week, the PBS show Frontline broadcast a documentary entitled “Climate of Doubt” which explored the massive shift in public opinion on climate change in the US over the last few years. I emphasize “the shift within the US” because throughout most of the rest of the world, there has been no such comparable shift.
I watched it myself and was impressed at how much time was given to those who argue against global warming and climate change. Impressed mostly at how many were willing to talk on camera when the whole point of the program was how these individuals were helping to sway opinion away from what had previously been considered a standard and rational perspective. It’s interesting to see video clips form years past of people like Mitt Romney and Nute Gingrich stating unequivocally only a few years ago that climate change was real, that we are the biggest culprit behind it, and that we need to do something about it.
The broadcast does a good job of explaining how the shift of opinion has taken place over these last few years. It obviously can’t explore things to the same detail as the book “Merchants of Doubt” does (written by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway). But if people have only one hour to devote to learning more on this subject, the documentary does a good job of explaining what has happened.
Even the Heartland Institute gave the show some credit—I expected them to give none—but still criticizes the show, arguing that they only interviewed climate scientists who are not representative of the mainstream scientific community on the matter. However, some of their own group who were interviewed such as Christopher Monckton are seen on camera stating “Green is the new red,” implying that the only possible reason anyone would want to tackle climate change is to introduce a leftist agenda. In other words, “An attack on global warming is an attack on your freedom.”
I have my own opinions on the show, but I’d encourage you to watch it and formulate your own. Given the purpose of the documentary—to explore the shift in opinion rather than to address the debate itself—I think the producers did a great job.