New report details the disturbing links between denialism about climate change and COVID-19
Long before some people on the far right were downplaying the dangers of coronavirus, they were promoting climate change denial. And according to the environmentalist website DeSmog, those who have been wrong about coronavirus this year also have a history of denying the dangers of climate change.
In a recent report, DeSmog explained, “People like Steve Milloy and Patrick Michaels and organizations like the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), the Heartland and Manhattan Institutes gained influence in the early heyday of climate science denial when the fossil fuel industry made a broad and concerted effort to mislead the public about global warming."
"We’re now seeing many of the same people and organizations utilize the tactics they honed in the 1990s to foment doubt about the deadly coronavirus pandemic,” it added. "Many of the organizations now spreading misinformation received funding from fossil fuel companies and/or trade groups for years or even decades, as DeSmog and others have previously documented (e.g. Reason Foundation, Independent Institute, Texas Public Policy Foundation, etc.)"
It notes that conspiracy theorists are among those who have been downplaying the dangers of COVID-19 or using the pandemic to promote bogus products.
According to the report, “Some climate deniers have pushed outright conspiracy theories on COVID-19: claiming, as Piers Corbyn did, that the pandemic is a ‘world population cull’ backed by Bill Gates and George Soros; alleging, as a former member of British Parliament did, that COVID-19 is just a ‘big hoax’ — or, like Alex Jones, seeking to profit directly off of COVID-19 through false marketing, according to the Food and Drug Administration and the New York Attorney General (Letitia James), both of which have warned Jones to desist from marketing a toothpaste he claimed ‘kills the whole SARS-corona family at point-blank range.’”
The report, however, also points out that while some climate change deniers acknowledge that COVID-19 is a major threat, they are disingenuously using it to bash environmentalists.
“Some climate science deniers conflate the impacts of slashing carbon emissions through a managed transition to renewable energy and electric vehicles with the slashed emissions that resulted from the dramatic drop in travel caused by shelter-in-place orders — two very different ways to arrive at a similar point,” the executive summary explains. “Brendan O’Neill, editor of Koch-funded website Spiked, argued that ‘this pandemic has shown us what life would be like if environmentalists got their way.’ In a column titled ‘COVID-19: A Glimpse of the Dystopia Greens Want Us to Live In,’ O’Neill claimed government responses to the virus represent a ‘warped dystopia’ that environmentalists like George Monbiot have been calling for.”