This is a guest post by David Halperin, originally published at Republic Report.
Last week, on the day after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that 2015 was by far the hottest year on record, the energy industry’s chief lobbyists gathered in a downtown Washington ballroom to tell each other that the real problem was not global warming, but rather efforts by the Obama Administration — and Pope Francis — to contain global warming.
The remarks of these lobbyists suggested that many of them live on a different planet, where climate change is not an urgent challenge but rather is the obsession of ideological malcontents.
The meeting, held annually, is sponsored by the United States Energy Association, whose chieftains are not the CEOs of America’s oil, coal, and gas companies. Rather, they are the heads of the Washington-based trade associations that lobby against regulation of greenhouse gases and toxic pollution. They mostly are former corporate lawyers or Capital Hill functionaries who worked their way up and now receive enormous-for-DC salaries to serve at the beck and call of actual energy executives.