Global warming is real, and is being driven primarily by human activity.

If you agree with this statement, then you’re in the good company of pretty much every scientist, and national academy of science, of every nation on Earth. In other words, you’re a rational, responsible human being. As such, you will likely be as disturbed as I was by watching this video clip, in which Fox figurehead Glenn Beck conducts an in-depth love-in with two other conservative Christian climate change denial specialists. The first gray-haired white dude is Calvin Beisner, founder of the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, and even further to Beck’s right is David Barton, founder of WallBuilders (what is it with these guys and walls?).

If you disagree with my leading sentence, then I’m afraid to say that you have been effectively duped by professional hucksters likes Beisner, Barton and Beck, and the well-oiled disinformation campaign they represent. You have been deceived into thinking that either climate change is not happening (which seems to be Beisner’s position), or that it is not being caused by humans (the slightly-less-irrational role, clumsily played by Barton). These guys are performing the good cop/bad cop routine in order to trick the viewer into thinking that there is still some doubt about the reality of climate change and its primary causes. Well, there isn’t.

So why would someone want to deceive people into thinking that climate change is still open to scientific debate? To answer that question, we need only play the “follow the money” game. In this case, doing so leads to the oh-so-shocking discovery that Beisner’s Cornwall Alliance is a front group for the oil industry. Their target seems to be the Christian right, which is already mistrustful of science and highly averse to looking at the darkening shadow of what’s commonly called “progress.” In support of his anthropocentric (and bio-illogical) claim that the “bottom line measure” of the state of the environment is human health and longevity, Beisner relies on the Old Testament idea that nature exists to serve Man, instead of the other way around. To frighten Beck’s viewers, he equates environmentalism with pagan pantheism and calls the movement “the Green Dragon” (which must be resisted, ideally through the purchase of a $72 book-and-DVD package), while Beck accuses progressives of worshiping the ancient Babylonian god, Baal. In other words, environmentalism is evil.

As for why Exxon et al might want to strike fear into the hearts of Evangelicals and pump doubt into the noosphere, well, it doesn’t take a climatologist to know which way the wind blows. As long as Joe America remains uncertain and/or confused about the driving forces behind global warming, he can continue guiltlessly driving his SUV all over kingdom come, thus driving oil profits further into the black. Beisner, by making the painfully untrue claim that economic growth leads to cleaner and more beautiful “natural environments,” would like Joe to believe that conspicuous consumption is not only a patriotic duty but a religious calling.

The scariest part of all this is that the fat cats behind the smoke and mirrors, many of them highly educated, likely know the truth about anthropogenic climate change. Which can only mean that they are deliberately lying, and paying others to lie, about one of the most critical issues that humanity, and the Earth community at large, has ever faced. It seems that they are willing to compromise the lives of their grandchildren, and even jeopardize life on Earth, for political and economic gain. By all accounts, the Green Dragon of greed and selfishness is alive and well.

But instead of ending on a sour note and a whiff of sulfur, I direct you to this video from the fine folks at “Funny or Die” (oh, the irony), in which Jack Black plays a right-wing misinformant.

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