‘Denialists’ disdain for science is a vital human rights issue’

ClimateChangeDisinformationPipelinePublished in Business Day, 14 January 2014

The public debate about climate change is an aberration because we do not have debates in newspapers about the validity of medical science, physics, aeronautics, geology or genetics. So what is different about climate science?

Two things, perhaps: its conclusions demand that most of us make significant adjustments to our lifestyles, and it threatens major vested interests: the fossil fuel industry that supplies the world’s coal, gas and oil.

But, like the tobacco industry before it, the fossil fuel industry has funded a vast campaign of lies and disinformation to undermine public trust in science. To understand the so-called climate debate, one must understand this context, rarely if ever acknowledged in South Africa. A debate fuelled mostly by propaganda is not a real debate.

As Jeremy Grantham, a leading US fund manager, observes: “We have the energy industry — the only other vested interest as powerful as that of the financial world — egging people on to be confused about the issues. They do it very successfully, with foundations with misleading names, think-tanks like the Cato Institute and the Hudson Institute, whose job in life appears to be propagandise anything and everything that is useful for energy interests.”

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SA’s AIDS Doubts Baffle the Experts

Mail & Guardian

Johannesburg, South Africa
March 17 2000


Statements questioning the cause of AIDS have caused dismay among local and international scientists.

LEADING international AIDS scientists and researchers this week unanimously dismissed the South African government’s suggestion that the link between HIV and AIDS be “re-examined”.

Head of the Medical Research Council Professor Malegapuru Makgoba also lashed out at the so-called Aids dissidents, describing them as “failures in their own countries” and warning that South African is becoming “fertile ground for pseudo-science”.

Their statements came as the government’s apparent readiness to overturn the principles behind its own Aids policies began to attract further disbelieving international attention.

A lengthy story in New York’s influential Village Voice this week is subtitled: “South Africa’s president may become the first world leader to believe that HIV is not the cause of AIDS.”
Continue reading SA’s AIDS Doubts Baffle the Experts