Erik M. Conway

Erik M. Conway

Merchants of Doubt: How Climate Science Became a Victim of the Cold War

There is a long-standing “debate” over the reality of anthropogenic climate change between the mainstream climate science community and a handful of “skeptics,” most, though not all, of whom are financed by fossil-fuel companies and right-wing political foundations. This is well documented. Less well documented, and far less well understood, is the motivation of these deniers. Conway (2008) briefly argued that they are motivated by market fundamentalism. In Merchants of Doubt, Oreskes and Conway (2010) have also argued that this market fundamentalism is rooted in the American Cold War experience. In this talk, Conway will discuss the origin of one of the principal founts of misinformation about climate science, the George C. Marshall Institute, in the political fight over the Strategic Defense Initiative.

Erik Conway is a historian of science and technology residing in Pasadena, CA, currently employed by the California Institute of Technology. He studies and documents the history of space exploration, and examines the intersections of space science, Earth science, and technological change. Conway has co-authored two books with Naomi Oreskes on climate change, the Merchants of Doubt (2010), concerning the deliberate misrepresentation of climate change by a few high-level scientists, and The Collapse of ‘Western’ Civilization (2014), a science-based work of fiction that gives a critique of our present time from a future perspective.