Tobacco denialism is the original sin. The tobacco companies fought a fifty year battle to deny the harm that they have done and are doing, the myriad deaths caused by the evil weed. Some time ago, Eli dug out information showing that tobacco is responsible for over 20 % of male and 8 % of female deaths in developed countries.
To maintain their profits the tobacco companies created a sophisticated public relations effort supported by a small but virulent group of professionals including scientists, economists and policy sluts. Among these were our old friends the Freds, Seitz and Singer who have gone on to further dishonor and but, alas, good fortune.
The centenary of Rachel Carson's birth has brought one of these, a Roger Bate to the forefront. Bate, an economist, currently dishonouring the American Enterprise Institute has set up a front organization, Africa Fighting Malaria, but to what purpose the innocent bunnies ask.
Not to fight malaria, but to fight the World Health Organization while it attempts to battle the twin curses of malaria and tobacco. Yesterday, Eli pointed to Roger Bate's solicitation letter to Philip Morris, today Rabett Institute will briefly consider the funding proposal SENT TO THE TOBACCO COMPANIES in which the clear purpose of Africa Fighting Malaria is layed out
(UPDATE: Somehow Eli originally omitted the URL. Thanks to the anonymouse who pointed out the omission)
We have had significant media attention to our ideas and have supporters within political circles. The idea of sound science, thresholds and tradeoffs, have been enhanced, and appear periodically in circles of opinion formers. However, we have been, and will probably remain, largely unsuccessful in changing policy for several reasons :which, in view of what follows appears to be a pretty accurate description of the situation
• Our ideological supporters are believed to have hidden agendas - the vested interests of industry and pro-industry politicians.
• Our opponents are quite disparate, yet we have not divided them and shown each how the other's agenda is damaging their own .Which gives one a pretty good
To be more successful we need to do the following :
• Simplify our arguments .
• Pick issues on which we can divide our opponents and win . Make our case on our terms, not on the terms of our opponents - malaria prevention is a good example .
• Show our opponents where their alleged allies are harming their cause - environmental regulations often harm public health in the west and western policies often harm health in Less Developed Countries (LDCs).
• Target messages to show politicians and journalists how to make political capital out of supporting our ideas.
• Involve opinion formers in LDCs to make our case .
The first stage is to develop some literature which explains the harm that a preoccupation with virtual risks in the west is causing in LDCs (to create support in the LDCs) . At the same time we must continue to explain the dangers this preoccupation has for those in the west (to increase support in the west) . The aim of the papers will be to highlight two tensions : between the actions of environmental and public health policies, and between OECD and LDC aims . It will also question what the aims of international health agencies (primarily WHO) should be .Well, the Tobacco Institute already had funded one book by Bate
As part of this process I have produced a cut-down version of "What Risk?", with two new papers, for think tanks to publish in their own languages/countries . . .but the Tobacco lobby always did have money for unworthy causes
Each will provide a speaking platform for me, and work with local media - however, all will require some funding support,and then the new front group can start to work
A new initiative to bring interest back into combating malaria, Africa Fighting Malaria, will be collection of groups of individuals and institutes, working from a base in Cape Town, South Africa .The purpose of this all
this will create tensions between LDCs and OECD countries and between public health and environment.How noble. Bate goes on
The third part of the strategy will be to constructively look at the future role of international agencies such as UNEP, UNDP, WHO etc . For example, WHO's new Director General Gro Harlem Brundtland comes from an environmental background. As the originator of the phrase 'sustainable development', and a guiding light in both the Montreal Protocol, and Rio Summit, she has a superb grasp on manipulating international political structures . According to one insider she is after the top job at UN . Her two targets of malaria and tobacco control if `successful' could propel her towards that goal . . The tobacco control protocol is based upon the Montreal Protocol and as such, although she did not originate the tobacco document, she is comfortable with its approach. Indeed, the tobacco control document may lead to a binding WHO/UN convention .The final paragraph is a keeper
At UNEP, the desire to push through treaties on Persistent Organic Pollutants, Climate Change, Hazardous Waste, to name but a few draw heavily on the Montreal Protocol as well . However, the Montreal Protocol is highly flawed (like the tobacco control document) . It contains inaccuracies, cost underestimation and dubious ethics . To influence the direction of future UN legislation we must criticise the Montreal Protocol. A paper is proposed to accurately apply the lessons learned from the Montreal Protocol to new or developing conventions (especially POPs, tobacco and climate change).As we saw in the earlier post, the cost of this piece of work was small, Bate even offered a discount
As you probably know I was working for PMCS Brussels at a rate of 800 pounds sterling a day . I would be content to continue to work at the same rate.It is truly difficult to understand someone as evil as Roger Bate, it is hard to understand why anyone with self respect would associate with him and surely, Roger Bate's existence is a strong argument against the existence of a just God.