Through the 1990s, the Global Climate Coalition successfully fended off international climate policy and laid the foundation for climate disinformation new research published in Environmental Politics shows. The GCC spent millions of dollars on PR campaigns to deny the scientific consensus while playing up uncertainty, fear mongering about the economic cost of action while scapegoating China, and capturing the Republican party to delay climate regulations. The study by Brown University researcher Robert Brulle documents the public relations strategy GCC deployed to successfully spike US involvement in the Kyoto Protocol, which the industry has continued to use in the decades since.

“It was very much, play up the economic impact, play up the threat to the ‘American way of life,’” Brulle told the Intercept, “When you can attack the science, do that, but always, always play up the economics.” The study is more than simply a historical document, Brulle pointed out to Katie Yoder at Grist, as it shows that climate denial “has been a long-term, corporate objective” that “resulted in the fact that we didn’t deal with climate change,” which is why “they should be held liable for the damages.” (Intercept, Grist, Galileu [Portuguese])