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Watch: The War on Climate Scientists

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Previously published on BillMoyers.com

Climate change is increasingly making mainstream media headlines and this week was no exception.

On Tuesday, scientists said that the long-feared collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has begun, kicking off what they believe will be a centuries-long, irreversible process that could raise sea levels by as much as 15 feet.

News reports like this show that climate change is serious, but corporations and even some governments seem recklessly determined to minimize or deny the reality of global warming, as well as undermine the authority of scientists.

In the second part of his conversation with me, Canadian scientist and environmental activist David Suzuki says killing the messenger is a 50-year-old strategy ripped straight from big tobacco's playbook: "This is a very effective thing that we know has been done by the tobacco industry [and] it's being done by the fossil fuel industry... You attack a person on the basis of their trustworthiness, their ulterior motives, anything to get away from dealing with the issues."

For Suzuki, it's a tactic he's personally confronted as a result of his outspoken views on climate change and government collusion with the petrochemical industry. Although he's considered Canada's most admired figure, Suzuki has been the target of relentless attacks from his nation's prime minister, corporations and right-wing ideologues.

"The fossil fuel industry knows that fossil fuel use is at the heart of climate change," Suzuki says. "But the problem is their job as CEOs and executives is to make money for their shareholders, and they'll do it."

Moyers & Company airs weekly on public television. Explore more at BillMoyers.com.

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