Greedy Lying Bastards
Craig Rosebraugh 2013
The subject of the new documentary Greedy Lying Bastards is the multimillion dollar climate denial industry, which filmmaker Craig Rosenbraugh blames for the world’s failure to agree an international climate treaty. The title roles are played by Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil, David and Charles Koch, who run Koch Energy, APCO, the same public relations company responsible for the phoney research and spin portraying smoking as perfectly safe, and Bonner and Associates, the astroturf* specialists who started phoney climate denial groups and forged letters to Congress from fictitious senior citizens.
As APCO themselves admit, they’re in the business of selling doubt. It only takes three seconds for a paid lobbyist to make an assertion denying any link between burning fossil fuels and extreme weather events. It takes fifteen minutes for a climate scientist to lay out the evidence disputing the assertion, especially when the corporate media neglects to disclose their so-called expert is a paid lobbyist. The great majority of climate deniers paraded by the media aren’t even scientists, much less climate scientists.
Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming (2011) by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway expands further on the science of marketing doubt.
Greedy Lying Bastards details how the release of so-called Climategate emails (which were doctored to suggest climate scientists had fabricated research) was deliberately timed to sabotage the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference. The principal aim of the conference was to draw up a new international climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Accord when it expired in 2012.
Thanks to Climategate, Kyoto expired without being replaced by a new treaty. The corporate media chooses not to report on the ten independent investigations that cleared the so-called Climategate scientists of any wrongdoing.
The film also highlights the 2010 Citizens United decision (which effectively decriminalized illegal corporate donations the Koch brothers had made to Republican candidates) and likely judicial misconduct on the part of Clarence Thomas. Thomas should have recused himself from the Citizens United decision. He had a conflict of interest, as the Koch brothers paid for him to attend a four day retreat of the (Koch brother funded) Federalist Society in 2008.
The film has some profoundly moving scenes of the personal misery caused by climate related catastrophes – specifically wild fires, super storms and rising sea levels that are swamping Pacific islands. And a priceless cameo of David Koch discussing his views on climate change.
*The late senator Lloyd Bentson is credited with coining the term “astroturf lobbying” to describe the synthetic grassroots movements manufactured by public relations firms.
The New Plymouth Green Party will be hosting the New Zealand premier of Greedy Lying Bastards some time in June. A digital version can be rented for $3.99 from Amazon