James Cameron: Oil and Coal Lobbies Engaged in "Disinformation Campaign to Discredit Science"

james-cameron-oil-coal photo

Image via CNN

Okay, so this is hardly news: it's been apparent for quite some time that coal and oil companies have been funding an ongoing campaign to confuse the public about climate science. Nothing revolutionary there; who would be surprised that fossil fuel industries are protecting their interests? What's surprising is how depressingly effective they've been. Which is why it's encouraging to see a smart, science-savvy public figure like James Cameron -- who also just happened to make the biggest grossing movie in history -- recognizing the travesty perpetrated on the American public.Cameron is appearing on a CNN International special that's airing this Thursday, called 'The Special Debate for Earth's Frontiers: The Future of Energy'. The debate, which also featured Mohamed Nasheed, the president of the Maldives, and Changhua Wu, the Greater China Director of the Climate Group , and others, saw Cameron enter the fray, no-holds barred.

He dropped a couple astute truth-bombs, like this one:

What I see in the U.S is the oil and coal lobbies spending massive amounts of money on a disinformation campaign that is used to discredit science and steer public opinion away from any sense of social responsibility about climate change.
What he sees in the US is the same thing we all see, if we're willing to follow the money . . .

Cameron also commented on the need to price carbon, and the damage our too-low gas prices are doing:

"Nothing is going to change until we properly price carbon...Right now gas is US$3 a gallon at the pump... In my perspective, gas is 15 or 20 dollars a gallon if you fully burden it with the cost of all of these big military actions, the overall consequences to the economy and the long term costs of climate change."
Now, some may balk at that figure, and certainly the fact that he's a wealthy film director who can afford all the gas he wants may make him seem out of touch -- but again, I think he's closer to right on than not. Even if you look at the simple externalities, the unaccounted-for environmental costs of burning gasoline -- without the wars -- you still hit a figure way higher than $3 a gallon.

Anyhow, the debate looks to be well worth watching. Catch it if you've got an hour to kill this weekend.

The Special Debate for Earth's Frontiers: The Future of Energy' airs on CNN International on Thursday 29th April at 1330 BST, Friday 30th April at 0530 BST; Saturday 1st May at 0630, 1830 and 2100 BST; Sunday 2nd May at 0400, 0830 and 1600 BST.
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