In an attempt to look edgy and sell more hybrid cars, Lexus, the luxury division of the Toyota Motor Corporation, is holding a series of debates featuring professional climate deniers who have no research background in the area of climate science, other than their ability to spindoctor.
Called the "Darker Side of Green" the debate series includes Christopher Monckton, a journalist by training, who has been running around the globe offering his opinion that climate change is not happening and is some kind of grand socialist conspiracy.
This is the same Christopher Monckton who accused young people attending the Copenhagen International Climate treaty talks last year of being the Hitler Youth and whose solution to the AIDS epidemic was to,
... screen the entire population regularly and to quarantine all carriers of the disease for life. Every member of the population should be blood-tested every month ... all those found to be infected with the virus, even if only as carriers, should be isolated compulsorily, immediately, and permanently.
Another presenter for the "Darker Side of Green" is the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Chris Horner, who like Monkcton has no research background in the science of climate change. Horner is a lawyer by training and works for a free-market think tank that even ExxonMobil refused to fund shortly after they ran an embarrassing television ad spot with the tag line "C02, some call it pollution, we call it life."
If Toyota wants to have a debate about climate change, I would suggest they recruit the scientists and researchers who are studying how to deal with the effects of the problem instead of public relations experts bent on muddying the issue and attacking the science.
Toyota stateson their corporate website that:
Global energy consumption and CO2 emissions, said to be a cause of global warming, have been steadily increasing since the Industrial Revolution.... Toyota considers responses to help prevent global warming to be a priority management issue and is implementing measures to reduce CO2 emissions by restricting energy consumption in all areas of business activities...
In their 2008 Annual report Toyota reports on how the company is:
Steadfastly Promoting the Creation of Vehicles with Lower CO2 Emissions, Based on the Recognition that Global Warming is the Most Crucial Issue Facing Humanity. [my emphasis]
If this is in fact what Toyota believes - that global warming is the most crucial issue facing humanity - then these pseudo-expert debates arguing whether climate change is happening or not say one of two things about the auto-giant:
One, Toyota actually doesn't think climate change is a problem and is simply paying lip-service with its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or
Two, Toyota is willing to forgo the values it believes in as a company to hopefully sell more cars by being provocative.
Either way, it stinks and Toyota's campaign is playing a role in undermining the work of researchers at the top scientific academies in the world, like NASA, the Royal Society, NOAA and the American Academy of Science, who all point to decades of data showing that climate change is a reality and our overuse of fossil fuels, like coal and oil, is to blame.
I guess the best way to find out what Toyota was thinking when they developed this publicity stunt would be to ask them directly. You can ask the company why they are supporting climate deniers through their Twitter account, on the Toyota Facebook page and/or on the Lexus Facebook page.
Here is the tweet I posted to @toyota:
H/T to A Siegel who first caught this story.
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