For more than a decade, researchers and journalists have tried to lay bare the PR machine employed by fossil fuel companies to delay climate action. Science historian Naomi Oreskes’ Merchants of Doubt detailed the critical role some scientists played in denying the soundness of climate science. Later, an investigation by InsideClimate News revealed that while Exxon denied climate change publicly, its own scientists were aware for decades of how fossil fuels warm the planet.
Political leaders have long cited economic research on how taking action on climate change would be prohibitively expensive. President Donald Trump even used the findings as part of his reasoning to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement.
But who exactly is behind that economic research? Legal expert, physicist, and now science historian Benjamin Franta, of Stanford University, decided to take a deeper look. He recently published his findings in the journal Environmental Politics: Since the late 1980s, economists at private consulting firms, funded by the fossil fuel industry, have played a key role in shaping public discourse about climate policy in the U.S., hawking f... Read more