Standard Denial Script


Whenever a science discovery threatens an establishment, there has been, and will be, a reaction.

When Galileo discovered the earth went around the sun he faced ferocious opposition from the church - an entrenched interest.

The boards of the fossil fuel industry are obliged by law to maximise profits to their shareholders.

Climate science threatens their profits, so naturally they are resisting.

In USA 770 organisations are spending $128 million dollars in 2008 employing 2300 lobbyists denying climate change. That is about 4 for every member of congress.


It is similar in Australia.

As well they are funding think tanks to bring out confusing reports, and funding grass roots organisations to fight for personal rights. Because they were so artificial they have been dubbed astro-turf organizations.

Most of the people in them don’t know where the money comes from.


Thank you tobacco industry

Modern denial campaigns started with  the tobacco industry.

When scientists painted cigarette tar onto rats, it produced cancer in every place it was painted. Everyone accepted the result. Smoking causes cancer, there was no doubt.

Standard denial script

Once people accepted the findings that smoking caused cancer, the tobacco industry started a campaign of confusion and delayed legislation by over 20  years.

They drew up a plan that is still in use to day:

  •  We need more research.
  •  Scientists are not agreed.
  •  There are natural causes

The same PR firm used the same campaign to postpone action on acid rain, the ozone hole, and now global warming.

DeSmog blog is an excellent source of climate denial tactics.

Only humans do this:

"Ostriches don't bury their heads in the sand—they wouldn't be able to breathe! But they do dig holes in the dirt to use as nests for their eggs. Several times a day, a bird puts her head in the hole and turns the eggs. So it really does look like the birds are burying their heads in the sand!"

Animal Myths Busted - National Geographic Kids

Deal reached on tobacco firm corrective statements

By Michael Felberbaum, Published: January 11
RICHMOND — The nation’s tobacco companies and the federal government have reached an agreement on publishing corrective statements that say the companies lied about the dangers of smoking and requires them to disclose smoking’s health effects, including the death on average of 1,200 people a day.

The reasoning here is breathtaking.   

Smoking denial


Acid rain denial



Ozone hole denial


Heartland institute


Australian denial

An excellent summary of climate denial in Australia is

"Doubting Australia: The roots of Australia’s climate denial 

Notes prepared by Australian climate organisations seeking action on climate change

May 2010"




“In researching a book on global warming deniers, we often felt demoralized by the efficacy of doubt-mongering tactics and depressed that the American public had been repeatedly fooled by the same strategy and tactics. On the other hand, we felt cautiously optimistic because disputes over other issues — tobacco smoking, acid rain, second-hand smoke, and the ozone hole — ended with the scientific evidence prevailing, and with regulation that (however delayed or weakened) addressed the problem.”

Naomi Oreskes and Erik m. Conway .. full article.

Naomi Oreskes is a professor of history and science studies at the University of California, San Diego. Erik M. Conway is the author of several books, including Atmospheric Science at NASA: A History.They are co-authors of Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming.

"Each day Humble oil supplies enough energy to melt 7 million tons of glacier!"

Advertisment in Life Magazine 2nd Feb 1962

Ref Snopes


References to denier groups


Wikipedia article..

Time Magazine: Who's funding climate change deniers?

Telegraph - UK: Oil conglomerate secretly funds climate change deniers

How the Koch bros fund denial 

CAP report on Koch bros.

From promoting acid rain to climate denial — over 20 years of David Kochs polluter front groups

Denial Campaign's Success Evident in Two New Polls

Science denial campaign

A chart of the denial campaign