PBS FRONTLINE: Climate of Doubt (2012)
4.3 · 3


If you think Mitt Romney’s recent threats against PBS were actually about budgets or Big Bird, think again. The reason the right hates PBS is that sometimes it commits the unpardonable sin of journalism.

“Climate of Doubt,” a “Frontline” documentary that aired Tuesday night on PBS, explores how a movement mobilized to undermine public acceptance of the scientific consensus on global warming and on how human activity contributes to climate change. The conservative Heartland Institute, which has played a prominent role in seeking to discredit climate science, pre-emptively issues a statement denying that a scientific consensus exists and predicting that the documentary will be unfair.

Four years ago, the presidential candidates agreed that climate change was a critical issue demanding urgent attention. But that national call to action has disappeared and in the past four years public opinion on the issue of climate has cooled. This election cycle, the presidential candidates barely discuss climate change. New studies find that only about half of Americans believe global warming is caused by human activity. What’s behind this dramatic reversal? In Climate of Doubt, Frontline correspondent John Hockenberry of PRI’s The Takeaway explores the inner workings of the movement that changed the debate on climate change.

In numerous interviews that took him across the country, Hockenberry discovers how climate skeptics mobilized, built their argument, and undermined public acceptance of a global scientific consensus. Tim Phillips, President of Americans for Prosperity, explains how the movement was able to find a voice and gain momentum as the economy failed, “We got up a hot-air balloon, put a banner on the side of it that said, cap-and-trade means higher taxes, lost jobs, less freedom. And we went all over the country doing events and stirring up grassroots anger and frustration, concern.”

"Climate of Doubt" describes the individuals and groups behind an organized effort to attack science by undermining scientists, and to unseat politicians who say they believe there is current climate change caused by human activity. Andrew Dessler, a climate scientist at Texas A&M, says, “I fully expect that after this program airs I’ll get another FOIA request for all of my emails with you. And you know, I’ll just deal with that. As a climate scientist, I think a lot about the future. It goes with the job. And I want to make sure that in 50 years or 100 years or 200 years, nobody could ever say we didn’t warn them.”

Frontline also investigates the funding that powers the skeptic movement in the name of free market, anti-regulation, small government causes. Hockenberry finds that funding has shifted away from fossil fuel companies to more ideological, and less public sources. According to Robert Brulle, a sociologist studying the funding patterns of these groups, “The major funders of the climate counter-movement are ideologically driven foundations that are very much concerned about conservative values and world views.” - Summary by Diane Sweet



on Sat, Nov 3 2012 · 11,223 Views
What's Next
Load Comments
Trending Today
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 6,204 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Above All, Be Kind
2 min · 4,709 views today · The remarkable mind that brought you QI, Blackadder and Spitting Image asks one of the world’s simplest but most significant questions – what do we really need to know? What...
People of Nowhere
2 min · 4,624 views today · I have heard and read different opinions about the wave of Syrian refugees who try to make their way in to the EU. Then I went to Lesvos. 7 days on the Greek Island gave me a...
10 Quotes From an Oglala Lakota Chief That Will Make You Question Everything About Our Society
Wisdom Pills · 4,247 views today · Luther Standing Bear was an Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief who, among a few rare others such as Charles Eastman, Black Elk and Gertrude Bonnin occupied the rift between the way of...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 4,153 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
The Meaning of Mahu
2 min · 3,277 views today · Mahu is the Hawaiian term for people who embody both male and female spirit - or what Westerners call transgender.  This animated scene from the PBS/Independent Lens film "KUMU...
M.I.A. Just Dropped a Killer New Track in Solidarity with Migrants
5 min · 2,225 views today · Borders is dedicate to her uncle Bala, in a tweet posted this morning M.I.A wrote "One of the first Tamil migrants to come to the UK in the '60s who went [on] to inspire so...
The Image Hollywood Created of Africa
3 min · 2,002 views today · After viewing Mama Hope's video, "Alex Presents Commando," Gabriel, Benard, Brian and Derrik (the Kenyan men in this video) told us they wanted to make one that pokes fun at...
The Century of the Self (2002)
230 min · 1,859 views today · The Century of the Self tells the untold and sometimes controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into A Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,840 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
John Pilger on Paris, ISIS and Media Propaganda
18 min · 1,674 views today · Afshin goes underground with one of NATO imperialism's greatest chroniclers, John Pilger. The award-winning journalist and filmmaker tells us how Washington, London and Paris...
Unbelievable Photos Show Factory Farms Destroying The American Countryside
Harrison Jacobs · 1,606 views today · Food production has become a race for maximum efficiency. When it comes to producing meat, whether chicken, beef, or pork, that race has fallen at the feet of the so-called...
Syria's Climate Conflict
Written by Audrey Quinn, Illustrated by Jackie Roche · 1,539 views today · Was the catalyst for the current conflict in Syria a drought caused by anthropogenic climate change?
Forget Shorter Showers: Why Personal Change Does Not Equal Political Change (2015)
11 min · 1,458 views today · Would any sane person think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday; or that chopping...
HUMAN (2015)
382 min · 1,315 views today · What is it that makes us human? Is it that we love, that we fight? That we laugh? Cry? Our curiosity? The quest for discovery?  Driven by these questions, filmmaker and artist...
Caitlin Moran's Posthumous Advice for Her Daughter
Caitlin Moran · 1,034 views today · My daughter is about to turn 13 and I’ve been smoking a lot recently, and so – in the wee small hours, when my lungs feel like there’s a small mouse inside them, scratching to...
We Created Islamic Extremism: Those Blaming Islam for ISIS Would Have Supported Osama Bin Laden in the '80s
Ben Norton · 905 views today · Jingoists conveniently forget the West's Cold War strategy was to arm the Islamic extremists that became al-Qaida
600 Posters, 80 Artists - Brandalism Crew Take Over Billboards Ahead of Paris Climate Talks
2 min · 803 views today · Two days before the launch of the UN COP21 Climate Conference, 600 posters were installed in outdoor media spaces across Paris. 82 Artists from 19 different countries made...
Hiding the Homeless: What Happens When Cities Make Homelessness a Crime
13 min · 716 views today · A growing number of American cities are ticketing or arresting homeless people for essentially being homeless. The new laws ban behavior commonly associated with homelessness...
John Pilger: "There Is No War On Terror... There Is A War OF Terror."
3 min · 505 views today · John Pilger speaks frankly about the "War on Terror," saying that no such thing exists. "There is a war OF terror," he says, and it is primarily state-sponsored terror, and...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?