Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2016


John Van Buren


I investigate the relationship between climate scientists that deny anthropogenic climate change, those supporting their research and perpetuating it, and how it has affected the way that climate policy has been enacted in the United States. For quantitative data, I look at various reports that major climate change skeptics have produced and/or are most cited by skeptic politicians and Think Tanks. I compare this data to that presented in the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report as well as other research that does support anthropogenic climate change. I also use research conducted by Exxon Mobil in the 80s that showed climate projections that acknowledged the harmful effects further fossil fuel use would have on the environment. I use the data presented by climate deniers to show how they have influenced the direction of environmental policy debate and action that has taken place in Congress. From this I explore how these policies have benefited fossil fuel companies and other industries which have provided much of the funding for climate change denying science. I explore where campaign donations from these companies have gone and how those who received money from them have voted concerning environmental issues. Ultimately I make the case that campaign finance reform and more transparency in politics and science are necessary for lasting changes to be made to current environmental politics.