Daniella the general public was largely supportive

Daniella Andrade T R 1:00 PM | Environmental Law R.

Hyslop Discussion:  “The effectiveness of law in Protecting the Environment when hostile figures are in Power” Frontline took on the topic of climate change as the relationship that science has in influencing the American public and thus, the political atmosphere in the United States, and focused on taking a closer look at the “David and Goliath” issue brought about by climate change deniers, whereas Zou and Young of the Center for Public Integrity, made the argument that politically backed agendas, under the guise of “science” influence public policy as a result of meddling from special interest groups with the money to afford to do so, Big Oil. Frontline’s host, John Hopkins, addresses that for decades, the general public was largely supportive of policies that address climate change, but “In just four years, the number of Americans who agree global warming is manmade has dropped to about half”. The quick change in public opinion is the main issue that he attempts to follow, and it seems to be aimed more on factors that influence public opinion leading to political pressures as it relates to people’s everyday lives and immediate concerns. While this is so, they also allow the leading skeptics of climate change, such as James Taylor of the Heartland Institute and Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprises Institute, to present their information on a somewhat balanced platform. While the article had focused target, Frontline, in an effort to represent both parties, gave the parties enough platform to speak but bypassed information that is important to include for the audience, the historical formation of the opposition party, and more significantly, where they get their money from.

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  In “Venue of Last Resort”, to emphasis is on the power of lobbying and the money that infiltrates the system on a larger scale in order to affect policy and thus, benefits for special interests. So, in reading these two, there seems to be two fronts to the problem. And money has a lot to do with it. This is done by either using money in advertisements to persuade the public, or financial backing for scientist who are willing to do research for projects that seem to do more harm than good, (for example Fred Singer’s extensive research questioning risks of tobacco consumption, questioning the basis for nuclear winter, or his current agenda with climate denialists), voluntary case inclusion to persuade policy, and also funding for educational symposiums on scientific methodology and economics ( that, mind you, has a strong emphasis in the ‘limitations of science’). If a lawyer’s main job is to argue well, and marketing to convince the public, I think the big oil industry has a lot of money to be able to afford that.

  The article also strikes more to home because of current fears due to Trump’s appointees for the head of agencies, specifically the EPA, and the effort to get judges with conservative ideologies to serve. According to Zou and Young, the tiers appear to be: monetary efforts of GGG emitting industry by providing ‘information seminars’ to potential judges, lobbying, and voluntarily aiding in cases which strike a chord with their interests, in conjunction with the lasting effect of having a judge in office (nominated by the President). But there is an Achilles heel in the mix, and that is disclosing information about what they know with regards to climate change.  


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