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Climate Change Deniers Try to Derail the Paris Talks
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
POLITICS

Climate Change Deniers Try to Derail the Paris Talks

The GOP is making its presence felt at the conference.

Jonathan M. Katz

LE BOURGET, France—Monday began what’s supposed to be the final week of the climate talks, the one where top-level negotiators hammer out an accord to stop the deadly march of global warming. To troll this momentous event, the climate change deniers at the Heartland Institute came all the way from Chicago to stage a “counter-conference” at a central Paris venue called, seriously, the Hotel California.

I don’t know much about what happened on that dark desert highway, in part because journalists with the climate advocacy site DeSmogBlog were kicked out before the session began. Heartland’s Jim Lakely told me DeSmogBlog engaged in “overt advocacy.” Kyla Mandel, one of the two bloggers booted, responded that he’s probably referring to them having told other journalists that Heartland has received funding from ExxonMobil. (Lakely didn’t elaborate.)

A few reporters briefly noted the “counter-conference” and moved on, which is the attention it deserved. While there are intense arguments about how to address climate change, there is no real debate among scientists about the core facts: Human contributions to the greenhouse effect are making the Earth hotter, which is bad for life. We can already see it happening, and pretty much the only people still clinging to denial live in well-off, English-speaking countries, primarily the United States. Which is probably why the denial event drew such a paltry crowd—organizers say a multiple of 20—compared to the thousands at anti-carbon emissions protests in the city and tens of thousands at the 196-party United Nations conference here.

And yet, at the real conference on Monday, it became clear that there are important reasons not to ignore that small, well-funded American faction entirely. For all the worldwide agreement on global warming, this week’s negotiators are hashing out the thorny issues of what should be done, by whom and when. Big fights include who will pay for existing and future damage and how to make sure that countries live up to all the promises they’ve made and will make this week.

Read the rest at The New Republic.