People try to paint climate scientists as members of a cabal or conspiracy to hide the truth, but this idea is often promoted by thinktanks, politicians, bloggers, journalists and some economists, members of a tight social network themselves. Their emails are not usually subject to FOIAs, but the FOIA Facts research fortuitously found unexpected data.
Email to Ed Wegman highlighted close relationships between UK's main climate anti-science charity, Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), its counterparts in the US and Canada, and some key Congressional staffers. Many email addresses were quite familiar, with a few surprises, including involvement of AIER, a previously unnoticed thinktank.
Among the many conservative think tanks faithfully pushing the skeptic message in Washington, D.C., few are as prominent—or, should I say, infamous—as the Heartland Institute. The “independent” research and non-profit group has the dubious distinction of having organized the first major denier-palooza, the “International Conference on Climate Change,” last year. Despite a less than stellar showing, and an even more lukewarm follow-up in March, it’s hoping that the third time will be the charm.
The likes of Senator James Inhofe, Lord Christopher Monckton and Anthony Watts will be descending on the Washington Court Hotel this week to discuss the “widespread dissent to the asserted “consensus” on the causes, consequences, and proper responses to climate change.” Its ostensible purpose will be to “expose Congressional staff and journalists to leading scientists and economists in the nation’s capital” and demonstrate that “global warming is not a crisis and that immediate action to reduce emissions is not necessary”—which it calls the emerging consensus view of (the handful of) scientists outside the IPCC.
The award for this week’s most understated headline goes to Politico’s Lisa Lerer for this little doozy: “GOP grapples with climate confusion.” Though little of her article actually breaks new ground, it perfectly encapsulates the Republicans’ current predicament – that of being stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to taking action on climate change.
On the one hand, the Republicans need to marshall their resources and come up with a coherent alternative to the proposed Democratic plan, lest they wish to lose the PR game and suffer another legislative defeat in the House of Representatives (the Senate, unfortunately, will be a much larger hurdle to overcome); on the other, they need to be wary of not alienating their base by devoting too much time to addressing a “hoax.”
Friendly footage shows how CO2 comes from little girls blowing dandelion seeds, and prancing gazelles. Then cue the ominous music: “now some politicians want to label carbon dioxide a pollutant – imagine if they succeed. What would our lives be like then?”
Perhaps a bit of back-story is in order. The CEI has received a whopping $2,005,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998. Their point person on climate change is the notorious Myron Ebell who is so pathologically pro-oil he once claimed that good gas mileage is a mass killer.
So what are the CEI (and their funders in the fossil fuel industry) so worried about? After decades of the atmosphere being used as a free dumping ground for astronomical amounts of carbon dioxide, the federal government is finally considering putting some regulations on our friend CO2.
It is no surprise that this proposed policy is about as popular with Big Oil as a fart in a diving bell.
There was a small pro-coal rally held in Washington, DC on Monday and the National Wildlife Federation was able to catch snippets of one of the pro-coal keeners talking to the media. The rally was organized by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) as a counter to the 2,000 youth who held a massive rally demanding action on climate change on the same day.
Word on the street is that the 20 or so who rallied in support of coal were mainly CEI staffers, in fact when one of the coal supporters was asked why they were there, his response was, “I don’t know I’m just an intern.”
The woman in the video below is Ann McElhinney, a British filmaker touting her most recent work “Not Evil Just Wrong.”
To give you an idea where McElhiney is coming from, her last film project was called “Mine Your Own Business” which according to the Wikipedia entry “investigate[d] controversial proposed mining projects in impoverished villages.” The film, “portrays western environmentalists as wealthy elites who are working counter to the interests of the local people.”
The pro-mining film was financed by a Canadian mining company Gabriel Resources Ltd., which is the same foreign corporation that at the time was looking to develop Roşia Montană as an open pit gold mine.
So a leap from pro-mining to pro-coal to arguing that CO2 is good for us wasn’t a hard one for Ms. McElhinney.
Here’s a partial transcript:
“I’ve been around this country making our film and people are driving their white cars… snow white, so if you look at this idea of black stuff coming out, it’s not. C02 is not dangerous. C02 is what you push into greenhouses to make things grow this is a good thing, you know.”
He may only be part of a noisy minority, but Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) isn’t about to let his fringe status get in the way of his latest skeptic shtick.
As he did last year, Inhofe, writing under the guise of the Minority on the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, has penned another anti-global warming screed with the help of his staffer, Marc Morano, entitled “UN Blowback: More than 650 International Scientists Dissent over Man-Made Global Warming Claims”. And, like last year, Inhofe’s laughable attempt at a serious “report” falls flat on its face upon any close scrutiny.
While there is much that could be singled out for ridicule in the senator’s report, I’ll focus on what I’ll call the skeptics’ “greatest hits” (i.e. the wrong-headed arguments they’ve been trotting out for months, if not years, to “prove” their point).
Let’s start with the claim made in the report’s title: that “half of warming” is due to solar forcing.
Despite being debunked over and over again, skeptics like Inhofe have latched onto a few studies published during the last decade that purported to show a link between solar activity – cosmic rays, in particular – and rising greenhouse gas emissions. (The idea being that cosmic rays helped water droplets form in the atmosphere, leading to increased cloud clover and, thus, lower average temperatures.)
“Free-market” capitalists seem to be an endangered species in this bruising era of economic accountability. As the Big Three automakers loiter in the lobbies of the U.S. Congress and the Canadian Parliament, begging for handouts, everyone seems to be avoiding the question of why the taxpayer should have to prop up these losers.
Rural electric co-ops are populated overwhelmingly by companies running coal-fired electrical plants and in the past, they were more likely to be part of the problem when it came to climate change disinformation.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute, who not even the likes of ExxonMobil want to be associated with anymore, has issued a media advisory today offering up their in-house staff as global warming “experts” available for comment on the upcoming release by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
With the IPCC report coming from scientists, you would think the CEI would be offering up scientists as global warming “experts.
Here's some background information on each of their so-called “experts.”
Democracy is utterly dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed. In promoting climate change denial (and often denying their responsibility for doing so) industry has done more than endanger the environment. It has undermined democracy.
There is a vast difference between putting forth a point of view, honestly held, and intentionally sowing the seeds of confusion. Free speech does not include the right to deceive. Deception is not a point of view. And the right to disagree does not include a right to intentionally subvert the public awareness.