Reframing Science Denial

August 15, 2016

A new Koch-funded initiative called “Fueling US Forward” aims to re-frame fossil fuels as the sustainable energy of the future, and fight subsidies on electric vehicles and other renewable technologies.

In a cynical move, the initiative is aimed largely at low-income people of color, using language and images that associate diversity with diverse energy sources and suggests that fossil fuels are good for the poor.

“We’re partnering with other organizations too, especially non-traditional allies like the minority community,” Fueling US Forward CEO Mr. Drevna (former lobbyist and Sunoco executive) told the nearly all-white crowd at the organization’s launch event. “Who in the heck gets hit hardest and fastest when there’s an energy crisis and prices go up? They do.””

Note there’s no mention of the environmental injustices that disproportionately impact low-income communities of color living near fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure zones. Or that historically marginalized communities are hit first and worst by climate change.

And no acknowledgement of the contradictions inherent in supporting fossil fuels to aid the poor while financing campaigns to oppose minimum wage hikes or calling for the minimum wage to be repealed altogether.

Finally, this initiative illuminates how fossil fuel interests are still knee-deep in climate science denial–in pushing policies and perspectives that deny the scientific consensus that we must keep carbon in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate change, the Kochs and the fossil fuel companies behind “Fueling US Forward” are science deniers. Full stop.

Now, why do science museums accept funding from these corporate interests who deny science and lobby to block action on climate change, putting us all–but especially the poor and communities of color–on a crash course?