The Religious Right’s Fact-Free Climate Change Misinformation Campaign

Calvin Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance is at the center of the Religious Right’s growing push against “the Green Dragon,” otherwise known as the environmental movement. As noted in the latest Right Wing Watch In-Focus, Beisner has his PhD. in Scottish history and absolutely no scientific credentials, however, he does have close ties to corporate-financed, anti-environmental groups such as the Acton Institute and the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow. Now, right-wing activists like David Barton, Wendy Wright, and Bryan Fischer are heavily promoting Beisner’s film (which they are also featured in).

According to Beisner, environmental protection is “anti-biblical” while heightened carbon dioxide emissions are good for the earth. Even though actual scientists have concluded that the rapidly increasing human emissions of carbon dioxide cause warming temperatures, drought, and rising sea levels.

While climate change threatens to reduce precipitation and produce devastating food shortages, Beisner wrongly claims that climate change will increase the food supply and, in fact, goes so far as to accuse the EPA of intentionally seeking to “hurt the poor”:

Beisner: A lot of agricultural economists think that the increased crop yields that we’ve seen over the last forty to fifty years, something in the neighborhood of twelve to fifteen percent of that is attributable directly to increased carbon dioxide, which means that food gets more plentiful and that helps the poor.

Well, the EPA wants to hurt the poor [in] two ways: one, by raising energy prices by forcing us to switch from carbon-based fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas, to much more expensive and much less reliable fuels like wind, solar, and bio-fuels. And two, they want to hurt the poor by lowering the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which would reduce plant growth efficiency, reducing crop yields, reducing food availability, raising food prices. So it’s a double whammy on the poor.

Then David Barton, of all people, accuses scientists of ignoring anything that does support their worldview and manipulating data to support it, while complaining that it is all plot to increase government control and play God:

Barton: This is not about science, this has nothing to do with science. Science is a vehicle to give them more control over the lives of individuals.

Green: So there’s no intellectual honesty then there?

Barton: No. There’s no intellectual honesty. You find something that lines up with your worldview and you say “here it is, this is what I’ve always believed, I knew it was out there.” And you find a fake science like the IPCC at the UN which has its own agenda …

Green: And they’re willing to put out supposed data, that’s false …

Barton: And the great proof that it’s a philosophical worldview is when you refuse to listen to opposing data. When you get all these scientists on the other side … who roll out all these studies that say “no, no, no that’s wrong.” When you won’t listen to opposing data, science has nothing to do with it. You’re into a worldview conflict at that point and your saying that my worldview demands that I have more control over your life, over what you do, that’s why government does exist, you’re hear to serve government, not vice versa, and this is the vehicle to do it. This really has nothing to do with science.

But what happens is, not understanding that, a lot of Americans buy into that this is science.

Green: Oh, they’ve been indoctrinated with it in education for the last twenty years.

Barton: Are you kidding me, Earth Day in the schools? We’ve got to save the Earth? I mean, that’s like a tick … trying to save a whole heard of cattle. I mean, ticks go along for the ride, they don’t manage the cattle, they don’t tell them where to go. And that’s our arrogance in thinking that we can do something to save the planet and control where the planet goes. You know, we’re just along for the ride and we’re insignificant peons on this thing

Green: Well, arrogance is the right word. I mean, it really does, we get to the point where we think – not that we shouldn’t do the things we can do, of course you do the things that are responsible – but we think that we can control this whole thing. We think we’re God.