A new documentary examines the link between contemporary climate change deniers and tobacco executives who refused to tell the truth about the dangers of smoking
“If you can persuade people there’s no scientific consensus, people will believe it’s premature to act.” That’s a quote from Harvard professor Naomi Oreskes PhD, who wrote a book in 2010 with colleague Eric Conway about how sophisticated methods of distorting public opinion have been used on the subject of climate change, in exactly the same way they were once used to convince people that smoking isn’t harmful.
Robert Kenner, director of ‘Food Inc.’ has made a documentary based on their book. ‘Merchants of Doubt: What Climate Change deniers learned from Big Tobacco’ will be released next month. As Kenner explains in this short excerpt, he didn’t want to make just another film about climate change; Al Gore already did that. What Kenner aimed to do was to shine a light into the manipulation and lies that the fossil fuel industry uses to hide the poisonous nature of their products. To do this, the film looks back at the way industry executives lied and even swore in court that nicotine was not addictive, and that smoking had no negative health impacts. We all know now that they lied.