Gary Trudeau nailed it a few years back in this strip. (Click on it to see the whole thing.) There was a study out that flags the nearly one billion dollars that goes to fund the climate denialism movement each year. The excellent Suzanne Goldenberg got the whole story in The Guardian in December. (One of the many things, I’m sure, that I missed as I cast my radar across the horizon.) In any event, social scientist Robert Brulle conducted the study, published in Climatic Change, one of the key peer-reviewed journals covering climate. He’s quoted in the article: “It is not just a couple of rogue individuals doing this. This is a large-scale political effort.”
I use an older, still very good study in my climate change class: The organisation of denial: Conservative think tanks and environmental scepticism. It’s a great bit of scholarship. Greenpeace, not surprisingly, has done some work in all of this as well: Dealing in Doubt – The Climate Denial Machine vs. Climate Science. This is much newer than the academic paper I use. There are, of course, a number of great books on all of this as well.
Please don’t tell me that the reactionaries aren’t about preserving their cash flow. The data simply don’t support that theory.
P.S. Krugman had this to say at the end of a recent column on climate change: “The science is solid; the technology is there; the economics look far more favorable than anyone expected. All that stands in the way of saving the planet is a combination of ignorance, prejudice and vested interests. What could go wrong? Oh, wait.”