Read this free comic about the history of climate change denial propaganda

Originally published at: Read this free comic about the history of climate change denial propaganda | Boing Boing




I remember when I was a kid in the early 90s being terrified to the point of physical illness from extreme global warming stuff in a magazines targeted at kids, and then as an adult I found out it was paid for by the oil industry - apparently the goal was to get an extreme warning out there showing tidal waves as tall as the Statue of Liberty and everything just to make it easier to dismiss by “rational” arguments. Kind of nuts how much this stuff has been pushed and for how long all to try and continue ruining the planet.


A whole lot of oil company executives really should be prosecuted for their role in climate change propaganda and disinformation campaigns, knowing what they knew and actively trying to prevent anyone else who might act on the information from knowing it, too. Or at the very least stuck in a bag of shit and hit with sticks.


I had high hopes based on the cover but it became less interesting as it went on…sadly, it got too wordy by about 10x

After the great cover it’s just talking heads…the appeal of the graphic format for me is when words aren’t needed as much. There’s so much tiny print in this it’s harder to read than an essay would have been.

It looks like the author really wanted to deep dive into the reasoning and language used, so ultimately lots of verbage was necessary, but it’s really hard to do a deep dive like this in graphic format successfully.

edit: I see that this is a graphic adaptation of an already-published study…which I can imagine kind of limits the ability to conceptualize it properly in graphic form from the get-go.


It can save some words where milquetoast arguments and thin claims threaten, I suppose. Not everyone can pull off argument ad vibranium.


It’s the exact same thing cigarette companies did from the 1920s through the 1980s. They used the same marketing strategists and everything.

They’re called the MOD Squad. For Merchants of Death.


Someone should do a longitudinal survey of the standard denier line over the last half-century. I have a feeling it’d be like looking at exposed bands of rock in a cliff face, with very straight lines that hardly get jumbled up at all.

I’ve heard all of the following in my lifetime, more or less rigorously in this order:

  1. The climate doesn’t change.
  2. The climate doesn’t change except on extremely long time-scales.
  3. The climate changes from century to century, but only inconsequential amounts.
  4. Climate variations can be large on the order of centuries but are not all that consequential.
  5. Bad things can happen as a result of natural cyclical climate change, but human can’t possibly affect a system as large as the entire planet’s climate in the slightest.
  6. Human-caused activities can be measurable, e.g. in CO2 levels, but there’s no reason to think they’re having an effect because there’s no good data showing a long-term trend.
  7. There is data showing there’s a long-term trend, but that doesn’t mean there’s good correlation between measurable human activities and the normal climate cycle we’re in.
  8. There’s good correlation, but there’s no reason to think there’s any causal link.
  9. Human activity contributes some amount to climate change, but the overall effect is miniscule.
  10. The effect is not so miniscule, but that’s because people with agendas are manipulating the data.
  11. The effect is substantial and genuine, but it’s actually beneficial.
  12. Anthropogenic climate change is real, but the benefits outweigh the costs.
  13. Anthropogenic climate change is real, but happening slowly enough that it’s a wash, because there will be time to adjust to any necessary changes.
  14. Anthropogenic climate change is real and a problem, but not one that will be serious until the distant future.
  15. The problems will get serious in the next 100 years or so, but trying to substantially change how the world works in the short term would cause even worse problems.
  16. The problems will be serious in the short term, but they can be solved by technology that is just over the horizon.
  17. The problems caused by anthropogenic climate change are already serious, but they can be solved within the same system that gave rise to them.
  18. The problems caused by anthropogenic climate change are already serious and require radical changes, but those can best be put in place by the people already running things.
  19. Anthropogenic climate change is a catastrophe requiring radical changes by new kinds of leaders, but not so radical that they disrupt the lifestyles or cultural totems of people from wealthy nations.
  20. Anthropogenic climate change is the greatest catastrophe the human species has ever faced, and trying to help refugees or casualties would only make it worse.

(ETA: obviously the linked comic touches on some of these, but it’s the lockstep progression that interests me.)


I haven’t noticed a lockstep progression myself. Instead I have seen right-wing columnists who have written things like that that global warming doesn’t exist, that it does exist but is natural, that it’s inconsequential, and that it’s beneficial, in no particular order, just whatever they happen to be feeling that week. I can’t fathom how someone could bounce around like that, but apparently if your truth is money for fossil fuel companies, anything that justifies that is equally true even if contradictory.


Same here. I’ll read it all eventually but damn that’s wordy for a comic.

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