Make sure to read the questions first and write down the times when these points are discussed in case you need to hear those parts again.
“Merchants of Doubt” is a 2014 documentary inspired by the 2010 book of the same name written by Naomi Oreskes professor of Science History from Harvard University, and Eric Conway the historian at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA.
The book identifies parallels between the global warming controversy and earlier controversies over tobacco smoking, acid rain, DDT, and the hole in the ozone layer. The book, and movie in turn, expose the strategy of ‘keeping the controversy alive’ by spreading doubt and confusion after a scientific consensus has already been reached.
The movie takes a hard look at what arguments climate deniers are making and what tactics they use to propagate their message. These tactics have been used successfully by the same people on previous issues and are now being cultivated to prevent the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions in response to the risk of global climate change – regardless of scientific consensus.
PART I: Assignment
Watch the movie “Merchants of Doubt” and respond to the following questions. Make sure to read the questions before watching the movie.
A goal of this class is to help give each of you the ability to discuss Climate Change with others who do not have the same knowledge or who have different viewpoints. This assignment will provide a challenging and rewarding opportunity for you to practice this. With everything you have learned to this point, write an essay/discussion post of how you would explain the climate change controversies discussed in this movie to an interested high school senior who has heard of global warming and the various debates, but is not familiar with the science of Climate Change.
Be sure to explain all parts of each of the following questions and use different paragraphs for different topics.
1) General Discussion (4 pts)
a) What is the goal of the climate change deniers in the movie (hint – use title of movie)? Describe how this goal is achieved using two examples from the movie.
b) Describe two unethical practices of climate change deniers that were highlighted in the movie. How do you think these practices have affected the climate change discussion?