Climate change rapped at conference


I don’t know if you can dance to Austrian rapper Kilez More’s “Klimawandel (Klimaluge), Klimaschwindel,” but on Monday night some Strip visitors found out.

More’s ditty, which translates in English as “Climate Change (Climate Lies, Climate Swindle,”) was scheduled to be performed live during the opening evening of this week’s Ninth Annual Conference on Climate Change at the Mandalay Bay. Sponsored by The Heartland Institute, think of it as the national climate science denial convention.

Just because the vast majority of environmental scientists agree that climate change is serious and man-made, it doesn’t mean there isn’t room for another side of the story. And that story will be told often during panel discussions and speeches with approximately 600 attendees expected, according to conference promoters.

Panels with titles such as “The Social Cost of Carbon” and “Combating Climate Myths with Science Facts” will compete with “Who Benefits from Alarmism?” and “The Right Climate Stuff.”

Inside The Heartland Institute and the conference, the argument against the existence of dangerous climate change has only begun.

“There are no more excuses for those who say, ‘the debate is over’ concerning climate science,” institute communications director Jim Lakely said in a recent missive. “The debate will be happening next week in Las Vegas, and you can watch it all with a click of a button.”

Streamed on CNSNews.com., the conference has its work cut out for it if it wants to win over the public, press or most of scientific academia.

As usual, The Heartland Institute’s political slip is showing. In recent years it has received large contributions from such environmentally sensitive folks as ExxonMobil, Big Tobacco and large pharmaceutical corporations. Not only does Heartland argue against the substantive existence of global warming, but in cooperation with Philip Morris, it has also come out against the dangers of secondhand smoke.

Its policies and promotional tactics have been controversial. Its leadership announced in 2012 that it was discontinuing the climate change conference.

But just a couple years later, it’s back with a vengeance — and an Austrian rapper, too. Talk about keeping up with the times.

If the climate change denial conference lacks a certain scientific gravity, it does have substantial political standing in conservative politics. Those who argue against government regulation often use Heartland’s position papers to help make their point.

Trouble is, the public doesn’t agree. A 2011 survey by The Brookings Institute found that 62 percent of Americans agreed with the question, “Is there solid evidence that the average temperature on Earth has been getting warmer?”

But there are also indicators that the public opinion ebbs and flows on the subject.

In 2008, 72 percent of the public was convinced, but two years later, that figure dropped to 52 percent.

Which might just prove that climate science and political science are mixing. A 2014 survey conducted by the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University that 62 percent of Americans believe global warming is happening, and a majority admit they are more likely to vote for a congressional or presidential candidate who “supports action to reduce global warming.”

The argument against evidence of rising temperatures and climate change has failed with a majority of the American people, but just keeping up a zealous counterargument appears to achieve a political purpose with conservative voters.

If denying the existence of global warming and the peer-reviewed findings of climate science are out most places outside a Mandalay Bay conference hall this week, at least The Heartland Institute can say it’s staying hip in another area: Climate science denial rap.

Kilez More is in the house!

Come on, dig that funky Austrian beat, “Klimawandel (Klimaluge), Klimaschwindel ...”

When I say it’s getting hot in here, it’s just a figure of speech.

John L. Smith’s column appears Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. E-mail him at jsmith@reviewjournal.com or call 702-83-0295.