In the past few years, a firestorm has engulfed the debate about global warming. This issue has pitted science against spin, with inflammatory words from both sides. Former Vice-President Al Gore’s recent Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his work on global warming, only served to heighten the rhetoric on both sides of the debate.
Some scientists believe that global warming will not be devastating to the planet. How could scientific fact, which many believe could determine the very future of the planet, become a political battleground, left versus right, environmentalist versus climate change sceptic?
A 2006 British report estimated that the projected costs of global warming to be as costly as both world wars and the Great Depression added together. Yet, with such consequences, some scientists still insist that climate change, if it is happening at all, could be a good thing.
The Denial Machine investigates the roots of the campaign to negate the science and the threat of global warming. It tracks the activities of a group of scientists, some of whom previously consulted for Big Tobacco, and who are now receiving donations from major coal and oil companies.
The documentary shows how fossil fuel corporations have kept the global warming debate alive long after most scientists believed that global warming was real and had potentially catastrophic consequences. It shows that companies such as Exxon Mobil are working with top public relations firms and using many of the same tactics and personnel as those employed by Phillip Morris and RJ Reynolds to dispute the cigarette-cancer link in the 1990s. Exxon Mobil sought out those willing to question the science behind climate change, providing funding for some of them, their organizations and their studies.
The Denial Machine also explores how the arguments supported by oil companies were adopted by policymakers in both Canada and the US and helped form government policy.