Much of climate change denial is driven by money. The world’s ten largest fossil fuel companies are collectively worth trillions and their managers are not going away quietly. For years, they have invested heavily in assets that influence public opinion.
The assets involve squads of online trolls and influencers paid to spread gospels of climate change denial. Acquiring control of corporate media output was another strategy. So-called think tanks conducted widespread skirmishes, including use of Fraser-Institute-style “learning resources” foisted on naive members of media and places of education, including students and faculty.
Academics and scientists who don’t care about science have opportunities to pocket more than spare change.
In 2007, The Guardian reported American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded think tank with Republican ties, offered $10,000 each to scientists and economists for articles emphasising shortcomings of a report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Travel expenses and additional payments were also offered.
Yet, there is a class of science denial where people are not motivated by financial rewards. This includes religious fundamentalists who have a whole different view of the world from many of us.
American Christians, as a whole, have lower levels of environmental concern than do non-Christians (Jews, people of other faiths, and nonbelievers).
…the higher the level of religious commitment.., the lower the level of environmental concern.
Another recent study showed, similarly, that American Christians have less environmental concern than do Americans of other faiths or those who say they are not affiliated with any institutional forms of religion.
…some Christians do believe that humans are separate from, and superior to, nature, and that God has given humans license to multiply without limit and to dominate and exploit the rest of creation.
But it is also obvious that other Christians, though they have read the same Bible, have come to radically different conclusions about what God wants and expects of humans.
American Christians have become increasingly polarized on issues such as climate change, with the most conservative Christians and other evangelical Protestants expressing the most anti-environmental attitudes and attempting to suppress green efforts that have arisen in their own ranks.
The reasons for this environmental backlash include conservatives’ suspicions that stewardship smacks of neo-pagan-style nature worship and might even lead to anticapitalist sentiments.
The backlash also depends on a reinvigorated belief in “end times” apocalypticism that makes it pointless to worry about global warming and other environmental problems.
Pagan religion personified [nature’s] forces, ascribed a will to them, and called them gods. In contrast, ancient Israel conceived of a God above and beyond the forces of nature.
This divorce of God from nature had other ramifications. It allowed biblical writers to imagine that humans occupied a more exalted position in the natural order than the nature-based pagan religions conceived.