1) Create (a word which here means "pay for") "scientific" studies which contradict the majority opinion (smoking is bad for you).
2) Point to these bullshit studies' existence as "proof" that the facts aren't in (maybe smoking is good for you!).
There have been several books written about this "manufactured ignorance," and most relevant to our case is Merchants of Doubt. The book addresses how Big Oil allied themselves with crank scientists who had previously worked for Big Tobacco, who were more concerned about environmentalists becoming the Red Menace and the clearly-on-the-horizon-any-day-now One World Government than they were with doing science. Together, they began to develop this playbook. What is "science" in the face of the looming threat of socialism?!
So it won't surprise you at all that money from Big Oil ends up lining the pockets of prominent climate change deniers. One guy at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Willie Soon, received $1.25 million dollars for his soul ... which is probably not great for his long-term prospects, but in the meantime, hey, money. In all, it's estimated that oil companies throw $114 freaking million a year into the never-ending dumpster fire of climate change denialism:
The Huffington Post
Surely this is more cost-effective than just looking into renewable fuel sources.
And it's not like this whole thing caught them by surprise and this is the best they could come up with -- Exxon has known about climate change since 1981. That's like finding out there's a gas leak in your building and putting aromatic candles around it instead of warning the other residents (which would at least explain their brain-dead behavior).
Nimby thinks that if you were depressed by this article you should write to your local, state, and federal representatives, or, if you're young, you could try to tweet some of these peoples' faces off. But really, writing a letter is a better option. It's more classy, you know?
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What the Hell Did I Just Read: A Novel of Cosmic Horror, the third book in David Wong's John Dies at the End series, is available now!