Senator Sheldon Whitehouse on America’s climate future

Today, I attended a talk held by MIT’s Environmental Solutions Initiative by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. The crux of his talk was on the cottage industry of corporate-financed climate deniers, whose “product is doubt.” Their intent is to create the illusion of controversy, in his words. And it really rings true. What can be done? A few thoughts:

  • Daylight helps, particularly tracing the sources of funding for denialist “think tanks.”
  • Multi-state actions, such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative can help a lot. So can an emphasis on carbon pricing.
  • Public statements in support from CEOs of, for example, oil majors are meaningless. The lobbying efforts of those same organizations are not aligned with those public statements. Lobbying organizations with big-name corporations that represent companies presumably involved in the fight against climate change rarely include climate change among their lobbing priorities.
  • The oceans are witness to climate change in ways that climate change denialists have much more trouble denying.
  • State universities should be further out front in trying to influence public opinion on climate change. The vast majority of those universities (with enormous alumni bases) are actively involved in climate change research.

Oh, and also today, I listened in on Indivisible Guide’s weekly Facebook Live stream, focusing a lot on tax reform.

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