Bill McKibben on O.J. Simpson and the Attack on Climate Science

Thu, 2010-02-25 13:09Kevin Grandia
Kevin Grandia's picture

Bill McKibben on O.J. Simpson and the Attack on Climate Science

The award-winning author Bill McKibben has penned a great piece today comparing the OJ Simpson trial to the attack underway on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Chage (IPCC) and climate science in general.

McKibben writes:

“In 1989, I could fit every scientific study on climate change on top of my desk. Now, you could fill the Superdome with climate-change research data. Yet somehow, the onslaught against the science of climate change has never been stronger.”


“The campaign against climate science has been enormously clever, and enormously effective. It’s worth trying to understand how they’ve done it.  The best analogy, I think, is to the O.J. Simpson trial, an event that’s begun to recede into our collective memory. For those who were conscious in 1995, however, I imagine that just a few names will make it come back to life. Kato Kaelin, anyone? Lance Ito?”

You can read McKibben’s entire piece here: The Attack on Climate-Change Science Why It’s the O.J. Moment of the Twenty-First Century.



It's all fine and dandy to attempt to blame everything on everyone who doesn't agree with you, but the events of the last few months have demonstrated that some climate science is not as independent or as fact based as claimed.

Regarding the release of e-mails, even the Institute of Physics has weighed in with a submission to the British Parliament. Their words are not kind to the scientists involved.

"The Institute is concerned that, unless the disclosed e-mails are proved to be forgeries or adaptations, worrying implications arise for the integrity of scientific research in this field and for the credibility of the scientific method as practised in this context."

"The CRU e-mails as published on the internet provide prima facie evidence of determined and co-ordinated refusals to comply with honourable scientific traditions and freedom of information law."

Also, announced just a few hours ago, the UN is appointing a special committee to perform a thorough analysis of how the IPCC has conducted itself.

From Juan Cole, nemesis of neocon Middle East policy. Professor Cole knows firsthand what it's like to be hounded by denialists.

Boosting cap-and-trade as a solution to global warming is nonsensical.

Instead, you need renewable portfolio standards that require utilities to switch to renewable or lose their monopoly contracts for power delivery - and also trade and tariff rules banning dirty fossil fuel imports to the U.S. - such as tar sand oil.

When "environmentalists" make such primary blunders - and reveal such a startling level of ignorance about the real struggle by renewables to displace fossil fuels for good, forever in fact - well, one has to wonder.

I'm not sure the O.J. Simpson analogy is very good, either - what massive corporate interest was backing O.J.? Furthermore, O.J. was found guilty in civilian court - but when will fossil fuel corporations have to face criminal and civil actions for their own massively polluting actions?

You have Chevron in court over their Texaco/Ecuador business, and Exxon certainly faces similar issues over their Chad-Cameroon pipeline - but when will you see the first class-action lawsuit against fossil fuel corporations for global warming damages?

Even lawsuits do little good, if they don't change behaviors - for example, the tobacco corporations lost all their lawsuits in the end - but smoking cigarettes goes on as usual.

In the end, McKibben comes up with a clever analogy - but as far as providing useful and positive solutions to problem - which, to be clear, is that people would freeze & starve if fossil fuels were eliminated without a renewable energy-based replacement energy source in hand.

If environmentalists would just (please!) study renewable energy technology and policy, you wouldn't see them backing scams like cap-and-dividend while ignoring renewable portfolio standards - and they'd also have far more effective arguments about energy.