Award-Winning Film “Merchants of Doubt” to Screen at Library

October 18, 2016

“U.S. Concern about Global Warming at Eight-Year High,” blared a March 16 headline on the Gallup polling organization’s website. With the biblical scale of rainstorms, droughts, wildfires, and hurricanes in recent years, the headline doesn’t come as a huge surprise. What’s more surprising is that more than one-third of Americans still worry “only a little or not at all” about man-made climate change. According to a recent documentary film, much of the credit, or blame, for such complacency goes to a richly funded campaign by lobbyists, public relations people, talk show hosts, fake experts, and public officeholders to shed doubt on the existence of climate change or—a fallback position—admit the climate is changing but deny that human activities have anything to do with it. The 2014 film, “Merchants of Doubt,” will screen on October 18 at 7 p.m. at the main branch of the Thomas Crane Public Library, 40 Washington Street, Quincy. Admission is free.

“The film shows that the climate change deniers are using a playbook originally developed by the cigarette lobby to cast doubt on the harmful effects of tobacco,” said David Reich, board chair of Quincy Climate Action Network, cosponsor of the movie, along with the library, Massachusetts Climate Action Network, and Fore River Residents Against Compressor Station (FRRACS). “In fact, some of the same people who pushed the pro-tobacco line are working on the climate change denial campaign. In this case, the funding comes from a fossil fuel industry that’s scared to death that renewable energy and technologies like electric cars will make their products obsolete.”

Another sponsor, FRRACS, has been leading the fight against Spectra Energy’s proposed Fore River compressor station. Explaining their cosponsorship of a film about climate change denial, FRRACS lead Alice Arena said, “If you continue building fossil fuel infrastructure, you’re on a path to the earth not being inhabitable. We’re not just aiming to keep it out of Weymouth. We’re aiming to keep it off the planet.”