The subject of Craig Rosebraugh’s new documentary Greedy Lying Bastards is the billion dollar climate denial industry, which he blames for the failure of the global community to agree a new international climate treaty. The title roles are played by Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil; David and Charles Koch, who run Koch Energy; APCO, the same public relations firm that tried to convince us that championed smoking as a perfectly healthy activity; and Bonner and Associates, the astroturf1 specialists responsible for phoney climate denial groups and forged letters to Congress from fictitious senior citizens.
As APCO themselves admit, they’re in the business of selling doubt. It only takes a few seconds for a paid lobbyist to make an assertion denying the link between carbon emissions from fossil fuels and extreme weather events. It takes fifteen minutes for a climate scientist to lay out the evidence disputing the assertion, especially when the corporate media neglects to disclose their so-called experts are paid lobbyists. The great majority of climate deniers paraded by the media aren’t even scientists, much less climate scientists.
Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming (2011) by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway expands further on the science of marketing doubt.
Greedy Lying Bastards details how the release of so-called Climategate emails (which were doctored to suggest climate scientists had fabricated research) was deliberately timed to sabotage plans to draw up a new international climate treaty at the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference.
Thanks to Climategate, Kyoto expired in 2012 without being replaced by a new treaty. The corporate media chooses not to report on the ten independent investigations that cleared the so-called Climategate scientists of any wrongdoing.
The film also highlights the Koch brothers link to the 2010 Citizens United decision and likely judicial misconduct on the part of Clarence Thomas.
The film has some profoundly moving scenes of the personal misery caused by climate related catastrophes — specifically wild fires, super storms and rising sea levels that are swamping Pacific islands. And a priceless cameo of David Koch expressing his personal views on climate change.
- The late senator Lloyd Bentson is credited with coining the term “astroturf lobbying” to describe the synthetic grassroots movements created by public relations firms. [↩]