global climate coalition

How Clinton's Presidency Caused Oil-Funded Lobbyists to Intensify Attacks on Climate Science

The DeSmog UK epic history series continues with a look at how oil-funded lobbyists increased their attacks on climate science as Bill Clinton’s new policy era began.

The 1993 election of President Bill Clinton in the US heralded a new era in climate policy. And, in turn, the oil industry lobbyists would intensify their attacks on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Clinton appointed the accomplished and charismatic British climate scientist Dr Robert Watson as an adviser to the White House. Watson was also promoted to co-chairman of one of the three working groups within the IPCC.

The industry campaign was, at this time, still relatively transparent, with lobbyists Don Pearlman of the coal-funded Climate Council and John Shlaes, executive director of the Global Climate Coalition (GCC), receiving funding directly from the coal and oil industries respectively.

How Industry First Went to War With Climate Science

Scientists had well understood for many decades that adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere could raise global temperatures and cause climate change. But when politicians finally took notice, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was formed, industry began a war with science itself. 

Bert Bolin, the founder of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), was the first scientist to detect signals from the coal and oil industry that there would be serious resistance to climate science and its policy implications. 

As soon as governments began taking the issue seriously, the energy industry mobilised its greatest assets in order to combat organised opposition to its climate-damaging activities.

The Global Climate Coalition (GCCwas formed as soon as the IPCC came into being and, as the name suggests, this was an industry-funded powerhouse designed to undermine any global coalition to prevent climate change.

Bolin notes: “The strategy pursued was primarily to minimise the significance of the possible impacts of climate change and to address procedural and legal issues.”

The majors would engage with the issue more quickly than some of the environmental campaign groups.

Greenpeace Releases 20-Year History of Climate Denial Industry

Greenpeace released a terrific report today on the 20-year campaign by polluters to mislead the public by creating the climate denial industry. 

The new report succinctly explains how fossil fuel interests used the tobacco industry’s playbook and an extensive arsenal of lobbyists and “experts” for hire in order to manufacture disinformation designed to confuse the public and stifle action to address climate change.

In the report, titled “Dealing in Doubt: The Climate Denial Industry and Climate Science,” Greenpeace provides a brief history of the attacks waged by polluting industries against climate science, the IPCC and individual scientists.

ExxonMobil deservedly gets special attention for its role as the ringleader of the “campaign of denial.”  As Greenpeace has documented meticulously over the years with its ExxonSecrets website, ExxonMobil is known to have invested over $23 million since 1998 to bankroll an entire movement of climate confusionists, including over 35 anti-science and right wing nonprofits, to divert attention away from the critical threat of climate disruption caused largely by the burning of fossil fuels.

The report, authored by Greenpeace climate campaigner Cindy Baxter, calls out by name a number of key climate skeptics and deniers who have worked with industry front groups to confuse the public, including S. Fred Singer, John Christy, Richard Lindzen, David Legates, Sallie Baliunas, Willie Soon, Tim Ball, Pat Michaels and many other figures familiar to DeSmog Blog readers.

Is Controversial Coal Lobby Front Group ACCCE On The Verge of Implosion?

Duke Energy announced today that it has left the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), the dirty coal front group lobbying against Congressional action on climate change.  Will other corporate members of the US Climate Action Partnership soon follow in Duke’s footsteps by leaving ACCCE?

According to a report in the National Journal today, Duke Energy “left the American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy on Tuesday over differences with “influential member companies who will not support passing climate change legislation in 2009 or 2010.”

Duke did the right thing. The company realized that its membership in ACCCE did not square with its role with the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a coalition of industry and environmental groups working together to support federal action on climate change.  Duke also recently quit the National Association of Manufacturers in part because of that group’s work opposing climate legislation.

When Deniers Deny Their Own

Who can you trust, if not your own advisers? That is the inconvenient question raised by NYT reporter Andrew C. Revkin in a newly published article that reveals the extent to which the coal and oil industries ignored the advice of their own scientists on the question of climate change.

The Global Climate Coalition (how’s that for an Orwellian name?), an industry-funded group that spent years vehemently contesting any evidence linking anthropogenic activity to climate change, found itself in the uncomfortable position of rejecting its own experts’ recommendations when they reached the inevitable conclusion that the contribution of manmade greenhouse gas emissions to climate change “could not be refuted.”

Frank Maisano a DeSmogger?

If someone had told me that one day I would have my picture taken with Frank Maisano in a DeSmogBlog t-shirt I would have thought they were either immensely funny or immensely delusional. Well, here's Frank and I at the Society of Environmental Journalist's Conference in matching DeSmogBlog t-shirts.

Maybe pigs do fly. It actually turns out that Maisano has a pretty darn good sense of humor.

For those of you unfamiliar with Maisano, he used to work for the Global Climate Coalition, one of the most aggressive industry-funded climate science attack groups the world ever saw.

In fact here's a 2006 article by environment writer Jim Motavalli (who also got a DSBlog shirt) about Maisano titled, Thank You for Emitting.

I think somoneshould send this to Marc Morano. (Marc_Morano@EPW.Senate.Gov)

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