Clear Energy Alliance

Clear Energy Alliance

Background

Clear Energy Alliance (CEA) describes itself as “the latest venture of Mark Mathis who has spent most of his career challenging widely accepted ideas that are simply untrue.” 

Before starting CEA, Mathis founded another pro-fossil-fuel group called Citizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). While heading CARE, Mathis testified before Congress “on the dangers of anti-energy extremist groups.” [1] 

CEA primarily produces videos criticizing renewable energy and mainstream science on climate change. According to its website, “Much of what the media and activist groups tell us about energy is misleading or entirely false, which can lead to dangerous and expensive outcomes.” [1] 

According to corporate registry records, CEA was filed as a foreign LLC company in November 2017. It was organized in Delaware and operates out of the state of Florida. [3]

CEI primarily produces videos on YouTube and has regularly paid to promote its videos across Facebook. [2]

Pro-Oil Documentaries

Through CEA, Mathis produced two pro-oil documentary films: Fractured, and spOILed, with the latter celebrating “the incredible lifestyle oil has given us.” The description for Fractured contends that “common terms such as 'fossil fuel,' 'alternative energy,' 'clean energy,' 'mother nature' and 'fracking”' are highly misleading. These incorrect terms deceive the public about the essential nature of oil, gas, coal and nuclear power and cause people to believe in expensive, dangerous illusions.” [4]

In a 2012 interview with The Texas Tribune, Mathis confirmed the film's funding sources included individuals from the fossil fuel industry: [5]

I raised money from independent small investors, some of whom have interests in small independent oil and gas companies. These people were willing to put forth money to get this movie made because these are frustrated people. They’re very frustrated. They feel like they are misportrayed,” Mathis said.[5]

The film was represented by the public relations firm D.W. Turner, which also represents BHP Billiton New Mexico Coal, BP America, Chevron and others with energy-industry ties, Farmington Daily Times reported in 2011. [6]

An IndieGogo funding campaign also raised $16,582 USD for the film, with the backers list including small oil companies. [7]

Before producing pro-energy documentaries through CEA, Mathis worked with another group to help produce a pro-intelligent design documentary entitled Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Several prominent scientists criticized Mathis for including them in his film without explaining what Expelled was about (and introducing it under another name). The anti-defamation league also released a statement on the film, alleging it “misappropriates the Holocaust and its imagery as a part of its political effort to discredit the scientific community.” [8], [9]

Stance on Climate Change

March 2018

Mark Mathis compared climate models to fortune tellers in a Clear Energy Alliance video, listing off a range of unrelated computer models (for elections, hurricanes, and stock markets) as evidence that climate change models are unreliable:

Funding

Clear Energy Alliance does not disclose its funders. In a 2012 interview with The Texas Tribune, Mathis confirmed that SpOILed, one of the documentaries CEA helped produce, included funding from individuals involved in the fossil fuel industry: [10]

I raised money from independent small investors, some of whom have interests in small independent oil and gas companies. These people were willing to put forth money to get this movie made because these are frustrated people. They’re very frustrated. They feel like they are misportrayed,” Mathis said.

Key People

Actions

May 9, 2019

The Clear Energy Alliance, represented by Mark Mathis, signed on to an open letter organized by the American Energy Alliance designed to fight against an electric vehicle tax credit. [39]

The American Energy Alliance has organized a coalition to proclaim in one unified voice that there should be no expansion of the misguided electric vehicle tax credit,” Thomas Pyle wrote in a statement, quoted at The Daily Caller. There is no question that the electric vehicle tax credit distorts the auto market to no gain.” [40]

According to Pyle and others who signed the letter, electric vehicle tax credits “overwhelmingly benefit the rich.” DeSmog's Koch vs. Clean project has systematically debunked this, among other well-rehearsed talking points and misinformation put forward by industry about electric vehicles. 

The letter cites research by the Pacific Research Institute (PRI), a group that has received over $600,000 from ExxonMobil and millions from “dark money” groups DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund

May 2, 2019

CEA posted a video narrated by Marc Morano titled “Bad Data.” The animated video featured images of dogs urinating on carpets as an analogy for what Morano perceives as scientific malfeasance. Citing the opinions of other climate science deniers as proof of “dodgy distortions” in climate studies, Morano claimed that the scientific consensus on climate change is founded upon flawed studies: [41]

Remember when kids used to tell their teachers, ‘the dog ate my homework.’ Well, now we’ve got some climate change scientists who might as well be saying the same thing about the raw data backing up their research. A lot of the data is incomplete, inconsistent and just flat out wrong,” Morano said.

It’s no laughing matter because this research is being used as justification for spending trillions of dollars on policies that probably won’t do anything more than bankrupt the world.” [41]

March 31, 2019

Dallas News commented on a video that Clear Energy Alliance and Mark Mathis had released in June 2018 entitled “Solar Value Eclipse” that portrayed renewable energy sources as “a privileged part-timer who arrives late, does work others could easily do, and then leaves while everyone else is working full tilt.” The video also references a report by the industry-funded Institute for Energy Research. [37], [38]

The article notes that CEA has it “backwards” when it assumes that, without traditional power plants and with a switch to renewables, there will be no one to provide energy during peak demand. 

“The fact that renewable generators only produce power during part of the day does impose a cost, but not on consumers; these costs fall on renewable generators themselves. For power companies that produce during peak periods, this lapse in production on the part of renewable generators represents a profit opportunity. Indeed, despite a rapid growth in renewable generation in Texas, electricity prices have fallen further than those in any other state and reliability remains high.” [37]

February 19, 2019

According to Facebook's archive of political advertising, Clear Energy Alliance launched a series of ads criticizing aspects of the Green New Deal that would push for measures to combat climate change. [31]

“Even attempting to implement the Green New Deal would be incredibly disruptive and unimaginably expensive—not to mention impossible,” some of the ads read. [31]

One ad links to a CEA video that portrays fossil fuels as being “under attack.” In the video, Mark Mathis claims that, like fossil fuels, “Capitalism, industrialization, national sovereignty, and even freedom of speech are all under attack.” [32]

“In recent years, radical groups have succeeded in persuading young people that we should embrace new industries and different ideas. And to a large degree they are succeeding because of ignorance,” Mathis claims. [32]

Other anti-Green-New-Deal videos include one on climate change referring to research by Pat Michaels of the Cato Institute. Michaels has formerly worked with pro-tobacco groups, and has admitted to receiving roughly 40% of his funding from the fossil fuel industry. Another video features a caricature of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez taking selfies while a “beast” representing the Green New Deal comes on stage and burns piles of cash to represent how CEA claims the deal would be “unimaginably expensive.” [33], [34], [35], [36]

February 8, 2019

Climate change denier Marc Morano appeared in a Clear Energy Alliance video entitled “science is falsifiable.” Morano, referring to the concept of falsifiability, puts climate science in the same category as horoscopes, claiming there is no way to disprove it so the concept is unscientific: [27]

Some excerpts below:

“If any and all climate conditions are being attributed to climate change, then how can we design any observation or experiment that would make climate change falsifiable? We can't if it's not falsifiable. It's not science.”

“Today, a sort of climate astrology has taken over. Many climate claims have descended into the realm of the predictions of Nostradamus or the Mayan calendar. There's no way anyone can falsify global warming theory now because any weather event that happens proves their case.  And if that isn't confusing enough already, how do we design an experiment to know what changes in climate are due to human activities or part of the natural order of things?

[…] In other words, is there any experiment or observation that can distinguish what is man caused climate change and what is simply just natural climate? There isn't one today and there may never be one.” [27]

Portions of Morano's video could be viewed as an example of a straw man argument, where he puts forward a wide range of supposed claims by environmentalists and frames them as contradictory. Commentators have noted that the argument that climate science is not falsifiable is often supported by straw man arguments, and that the claim itself runs counter to Karl Popper's ideas. [28]

There have also been research articles and commentary concluding that it is problematic to use Popper's theories and the philosphy of science to debate global warming. [29], [30]

January 11, 2019

Clear Energy Alliance's Mark Mathis appeared in a video about the “yellow vest protests” in France. [23]

“This is inevitably what happens when democratic governments with socialist programs mature,” Mathis claimed in the video. 

“The protestors could see right through Macron's carbon tax on motor fuel as just an excuse to raise money while claiming he was doing something noble about climate change.”

Mathis then discussed the appearance of yellow vest protests in Canada:

“These protestors are unhappy about carbon taxes, illegal immigration, wasteful government spending, and policies they say hurt the oil industry, which in turn hurts them.”

Mathis does not mention criticism the yellow vest movement in both countries has faced due to fringe elements. In Canada, fringe members of the group have reportedly made death threats against Prime Minister Trudeau. [24]

The yellow vest movement in France has also been equated by some with anti-Semitism. In Edmonton, Canada, a group of Yellow Vest protestors were reportedly joined by members of the anti-Muslim group Wolves of Odin. [25], [26]

November 2, 2018

In a Clear Energy Alliance video, Mathis promoted work by the fossil-fuel-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute's Chris Horner to allege a “frightening scheme” of supposed “activist donors” behind an effort to hold large oil companies accountable for damages relating to climate change. [13]

October 19, 2018

Produced a video defending fracking in Kansas, claiming there is no connection between fracking and earthquake activites. [14]

“Now activists are hard at work trying to convince people in Kansas that injection wells might shake up their world. It’s a ridiculous claim that falls apart once you see some actual data,” CEA executive director Mark Mathis said in the video. 

September 28, 2018

CEA produced a video critical of proposition 112 in Colorado, which would increase the minimum distance for oil and gas drilling from people's homes. “Polling prior to the election indicates this measure does have a chance of passing. To which rational Colorado voters should be asking… Dude, are you wasted?” [15]

August 31, 2018

CEA produced a video alleging that the American Lung Association was spreading “lies” about the air quality in Pittsburgh. “[T]he American Lung Association is lying. That’s right. I said it. They’re lying,” Mathis said. “The people of Pittsburgh have put up with this nonsense from the ALA for far too long, and it’s time it stopped.” [16]

August 2018

CEA produced a series of ads and promoted them on Facebook. From August 23 to 30, it promoted an anti-ethanol mandate video, describing it as a “highly-subsidized and totally unnecessary additive to our gasoline”. 

“We should stop using ethanol tomorrow, but that won’t happen because politicians in Corn Belt states use their influence to put lipstick on that pig and keep the boondoggle going,” the ad reads, according to Facebook's political ad archive[17]

Video below:

From August 17 – 24, CEA promoted a video defending the shale gas industry in Pennsylvania. It also promoted this video from Aug 9 to 15: [18]

From August 16 – 21, it promoted a video suggesting a conspiracy in which eco-friendly groups got funding from Russia. Notably, in the same month Mathis spoke at the Heartland Institute's “America First Energy Conference” (AFEC 2018) in New Orleans, Louisiana on a panel titled “Battling Russia and America's Big Green Machine.” [21][19], [20]

“The dots are all plain to see on Russian natural gas, Germany, Putin’s propaganda money, and Anti-Natural gas activist groups in the United States. Why doesn’t the news media connect these big, obvious dots? Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?” Mathis asks in the video.

January 2018

In a January 2018 Clear Energy Alliance video, Mathis criticized lawsuits brought forward by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland California against large oil companies. Mathis described them as a “money grab.” [22]

“The city lawyers from San Francisco and Oakland are clearly using global warming as a pretext to extort money from oil companies. It’s a nuisance lawsuit and hopefully the courts will treat it as such,” Mathis said.

Related Organizations

Contact & Address

According to its corporate registration records, CEA's : [3]

Mailing/Principal Address
7777 NW BEACON SQUARE BLVD
BOCA RATON, FL 33487


Registered Agent Name & Address
Sherrard, German & Kelly, P.C.
7777 NW BEACON SQUARE BLVD
BOCA RATON, FL 33487

That address appears to host a number of individual businesses, and is the same as that of the registered agent for CEA, Eric C. Springer, working with Sherrard, German & Kelly, P.C.

Social Media

Resources

  1. About CEA,” Clear Energy Alliance. Archived November 12, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/YeRE9

  2. Facebook political ad archive for Clear Energy Alliance. Accessed November 12, 2018.

  3. CLEAR ENERGY ALLIANCE, LLC (ein 82-1945093)” sunbiz.org. Accessed November 12, 2018. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  4. Documentaries,” Clear Energy Alliance. Archived November 9, 2018. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/5bAhj

  5. Katie Galbraith. “Mark Mathis: The TT Interview,” The Texas Tribune, March 13, 2012. Archived November 9, 2018. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/9SLlb

  6. Chuck Slothower. “New documentary touts fossil fuels,” Farmington Daily Times, October 3, 2011. Archived October 5, 2011. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/eC53z

  7. FracturedTheMovie,” IndieGogo. Accessed November 2018. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  8. Questionable Interview Tactics,” Expelled Exposed. Archived July 30, 2012.

  9. (Press Release). “Anti-Evolution Film Misappropriates the Holocaust,” Anti-Defamation League, April 29, 2008. Archived July 7, 2010. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/hqV53

  10. Katie Galbraith. “Mark Mathis: The TT Interview,” The Texas Tribune, March 13, 2012. Archived November 9, 2018. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/9SLlb

  11. Mark Mathis,” LinkedIn. Accessed November 9, 2018. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  12. 2018 FOREIGN LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY ANNUAL REPORT” (PDF), sunbiz.org. Filed March 28, 2018.  Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  13. Caught Green Handed,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Clear Energy Alliance,” November 2, 2018. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  14. All Shook Up?” YouTube video uploaded by user “Clear Energy Alliance,” October 19, 2018. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  15. Is Colorado High?” YouTube video uploaded by user “Clear Energy Alliance,” September 28, 2018. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  16. Lung Association Lies,” YouTube video uploaded by suer “Clear Energy Alliance,” August 31, 2018. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  17. Facebook political ad archive for Clear Energy Alliance. Accessed November 12, 2018.

  18. A Severance Tax,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Clear Energy Alliance,” August 3, 2018. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  19. Speakers,” America First Energy Conference 2018. Archived August 1, 2018. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/mwtga

  20. MARK MATHIS,” America First Energy Conference 2018. Archived August 1, 2018. Archive URLhttps://archive.fo/3PTcN

  21. Putin's Useful Eco-Idiots,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Clear Energy Alliance,” August 10, 2018. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  22. CA Cities File Lawsuits Against Oil COs,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Clear Energy Alliance, January 30, 2018. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  23. Yellow Vest Protests,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Clear Energy Alliance. Archived .mp4 on file at Desmog.

  24. Stewart Bell and Mercedes Stephenson. “Facebook begins removing comments from Yellow Vests Canada group following talk of killing Trudeau,” Global News, January 9, 2019. Archived January 25, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/2CPRn

  25. Alexander Hurst. “The Ugly, Illiberal, Anti-Semitic Heart of the Yellow Vest Movement,” The New Republic, January 7, 2019. Archived January 25, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/xH1mI

  26. Kelly Weill. “The Far Right Is Trying to Co-opt the Yellow Vests,” The Daily Beast, January 8, 2019. Archived January 26, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/ZWVIs

  27. Science is Falsifiable,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Clear Energy Alliance,” February 8, 2019. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  28. Hans Custers. “Is Climate Science falsifiable?My view on climate change, February 17, 2014. Archived February 14, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/8ZIk5

  29. David Mercer. “Why Popper can’t resolve the debate over global warming: Problems with the uses of philosophy of science in the media and public framing of the science of global warming,Public Understanding of Science, May 5, 2016.

  30. Popper,” …And Then There's Physics, May 27, 2016. Archived February 14, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/C9lcI

  31. YouTube political ad archive for “Clear Energy Alliance.” Accessed February 26, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  32. Under Attack,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Clear Energy Alliance,” January 4, 2019.

  33. Green New Deal: Climate Change,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Clear Energy Alliance,” February 21, 2019. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  34. Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC) Supporters List,” June 30, 1993. Bates Number 2024233615/3618.

  35. Brad Johnson. “Cato’s Pat Michaels admits 40 percent of funding comes from big oil,” ThinkProgress, August 16, 2010.  Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/O6QnZ

  36. Green New Deal: OMG!Clear Energy Alliance, February 19, 2019.

  37. Josiah Neeley. “If fossil fuel is being out-competed by renewables, maybe the problem isn't renewables,” Dallas News, March 31, 2019. Archived April 3, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/GH9BK

  38. Solar Value Eclipse,” YouTube video uploaded by user Clear Energy Alliance, June 26, 2018. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  39. Dear Senator Grassley, Senator Wyden, Representative Neal and Representative Brady:” May 9, 2019. Retrieved from The Daily Caller.

  40. Christ White. “CONSERVATIVES WARN LAWMAKERS: TESLA’S TAX CREDITSOVERWHELMINGLY BENEFIT THE RICH,”The Daily Caller, May 9, 2019. Archived May 9, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/qzvF3

  41. Marc Morano. “Bad Data,” Clearenergyalliance.com, May 2, 2019. Archived May 10, 2019. Archive.is URL: http://archive.is/Rn5Q1. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

Other Resources