Gillis: 'Journalists care about the truth—that’s my only care in life, to find the truth. To act as if the evidence is half and half is to tell a lie. I refuse to perpetuate that lie.'
His own preference was to describe the “deniers” as “people who oppose climate science.”
Gillis acknowledged a tacit pact among print journalists to stop giving credence to climate skeptics. He called this an “enlightenment” that began ten or 15 years ago. American television, he noted, still lets a few skeptics onto the air; broadcasters have yet to come out of the Dark Ages.
Gillis responded: “99.9 percent of climate science is funded by the government.” That means, he explained, that each grant is disclosed by number to the public, making every transaction transparent and trustworthy.
Emily Southerd, campaign manager for the advocacy group Forecast the Facts shared that her organization is petitioning news stations to quit booking “deniers” like Marc Morano of ClimateDepot.com, one of the “merchants” shown in the film.
Gillis explains to CJR how he came to work on the climate beat while on a fellowship at MIT and Harvard:
'I started taking classes and the more I learned, the more I thought to myself, “This is the biggest problem we have—bigger than global poverty. Why am I not working on it?” From there, the question was, how do I get myself into a position to work on the problem?'
Climate Statistician Dr. Matt Briggs: 'What effect do you think the billions of government money flooding into the system has? Why is it government money is seen as 'pure' and industry money 'tainted', especially when the government far outspends industry. The government is, after all, an interested source. Just think of EPA grants. What will you say of the common practice whereby scientists review grants and also receive them from the same agencies (not simultaneously of course)? Tremendous conflict of interest! Do you recall Eisenhower’s speech where he not only cautioned against the military-industrial complex but also about the corrupting influence of government money?'
Gillis: 'In other words, the climate scientists see themselves as the true skeptics, having arrived at a durable consensus about emissions simply because the evidence of risk has become overwhelming. And in this view, people who reject the evidence are phony skeptics, arguing their case by cherry-picking studies, manipulating data, and refusing to weigh the evidence as a whole.'
Meteorologist Cliff Mass: Without global warming, we “still would have experienced the most severe heat wave of the past century.” ... Mass concluded climate change didn’t play a central role in an event largely caused by the natural variability of our regional weather. He notes the temperature soared by more than 40 degrees above the normal high, and climate change added only a few degrees, thus “a record-breaking unique heat wave” would have occurred even without global warming. In his blog, he lays out a golden rule that — based on this analysis — the bigger the temperature surge in an extreme event, the smaller the role of climate change, and accuses the World Weather Attribution report of “misinforming millions.” Mass says his criticism is grounded in a deep knowledge of the intricate mix of ocean, mountains and atmospheric flows that help to produce Northwest weather, as well as climate models he runs. ...
“I don’t believe we are facing any kind of existential threat,” Mass said. “But it is not a good idea to muck around with the climate of the planet.”