competitive enterprise institute

Friend of Mike Pence and a Coal-Funded Lawyer Form 'Accountability' Group to Attack Climate Lawsuits

Read time: 4 mins
christopher horner

For a group apparently hooked on transparency, the latest organization to spring from the loins of the fossil fuel–funded climate science denial industry certainly manages to obscure one or two pertinent facts.

Government Accountability and Oversight (GAO) — the name of the group given public charity status on March 20, 2018 by the Internal Revenue Service — is promising to publish documents about the people and groups behind ongoing court cases against the energy industry and its impact on the global climate.

We’re not going to get into the science debate and other arguments. We’ll just show the public the documents, so you can decide,” lawyer Chris Horner told a sympathetic Daily Caller about GAO’s Climate Litigation Watch (CLW) project.

Behind the group are three lawyers — one a Republican-elected district attorney, another a former radio host and “longtime friend” of Vice President Mike Pence, and Horner, who has been paid by coal companies and works at the fossil fuel–funded Competitive Enterprise Institute.

While apparently not wanting to “get into the science debate,” Climate Litigation Watch says the science linking fossil fuel producers to climate change is “dubious” — a position at odds with every major scientific academy on the planet.

So, who are these characters behind the GAO and its sole project, Climate Litigation Watch?

Koch vs. California: These Groups Are Pushing Pruitt to Undo the State’s Right to Regulate Auto Emissions

Read time: 10 mins
Los Angeles traffic backed up

A coalition of conservative groups, many with close ties to the Koch brothers, are calling for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt to strip California of its right to set stricter greenhouse gas limits for personal vehicles.

Not satisfied with Pruitt’s decision to rewrite the Obama-era emissions standards — which had been written cooperatively with the automakers, state of California, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and EPA — the American Consumer Institute (ACI) organized a letter to Pruitt calling “for the revocation of California’s waiver from the Clean Air Act, which allows the state to decouple from federal policy and impose strict emission standards on automobiles.”

When asked about this threat on the sidelines of the BNEF Future of Energy Summit, the chair of the California Air Resources Board, Mary Nichols, told Desmog, “I don't think they're going to do that.”

Climate Science Deniers Spring to Pruitt's Defense as Ethics Concerns, Calls for Resignation Mount

Read time: 7 mins
Scott Pruitt

Calls for Trump's climate-science denying Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt to resign are mounting, as the New York Times on Thursday published a detailed look at four high-ranking EPA staffers who were forced out of their jobs after objecting to Pruitt's spending habits and management of the agency.

Inside EPA, Pruitt lost the support of many long-time Trump associates, like Kevin Chmielewski, who pushed back against Pruitt's attempt to use taxpayer money on unlimited access to a private jet at a stunning $100,000 a month and $70,000 for two desks for Pruitt and his security team, one of which was to be “bulletproof.” Chmielewski was placed on unpaid administrative leave after objecting to Pruitt's plans for that luxury spending spree on the taxpayer's dime.

Pruitt, Auto Industry, and Climate Deniers Retreat Behind Closed Doors to Weaken Fuel Efficiency Targets

Read time: 7 mins
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announcing rollback of Obama fuel efficiency standards

On Tuesday, April 3, surrounded by representatives of the auto industry and conservative climate deniers, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt formally announced his decision to rewrite greenhouse gas emission standards for cars and light duty trucks, undercutting one of the Obama administration’s most effective climate programs.

From the last-minute, controversial venue change to the hypocritical messaging of its attendees, the announcement reflected the new normal in Trump's Washington: the placement of industry influence and climate science denial front and center.

Deniers Laud Trump, Repeat Al Gore Attacks and Tired Climate Denier Myths at CPAC

Read time: 7 mins
Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) logo

The who's who of America's conservative movement gather each year at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) outside of D.C.

This year was no exception. You could get a selfie with former Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele. Or on the ballroom main stage, you could catch a speech by the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) Wayne LaPierre and this year, even President Donald Trump.

And in a small, lightly attended side room, the who’s who of climate science deniers converged at a Heartland Institute panel, where they, predictably, used former Vice President Al Gore as a punching bag, gushed over Trump’s environmental protection rollbacks, and alleged that the scientific consensus on climate change is a lie.

Will Mainstream Media Be Duped in 2018 by Climate Denial Spin Doctors?

Read time: 4 mins

Will 2018 be the year that mainstream media is not duped by professional spin doctors and fake experts paid to downplay and deny the realities of climate change?

Call me cynical, but after more than a decade of research and writing into the role big fossil fuel companies have played in sponsoring coordinated attacks on climate science with public relations spin, I remain unconvinced we won’t see a resurgence in climate denial.

Later this year, a major update on the state of climate change research — the impacts, solutions, scientific underpinnings, etc. — will be released by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Former Environment Secretary Promotes Post-Brexit ‘Special Relationship’ with US Climate Science Deniers

Read time: 4 mins
Owen Paterson, Myron Ebell, and Jim Inhofe all meet in D.C.

Former environment secretary Owen Paterson made the rounds with some of the top climate science deniers on a tour of the US this autumn to promote a “special relationship” post-Brexit.

The Shropshire MP travelled to Washington D.C. in October, DeSmog UK can reveal, where he met with infamous climate science deniers Lamar Smith, James Inhofe, and Myron Ebell. He also gave speeches at both the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and the Heritage Foundation – two libertarian think tanks known for promoting climate science denial and working against environmental regulations.

Paterson’s visits are the latest in a string of meetings between pro-Brexit UK politicians (such as international trade secretary Liam Fox) and US climate science denial groups.

Former Head of Energy, Environment at ALEC, Todd Wynn, Hired by Trump Interior Department

Read time: 9 mins
Todd Wynn

Todd Wynn, former Director of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)'s Energy Environmental and Agriculture Task Force, was recently hired by President Donald Trump to work as a senior-ranking official in the U.S. Department of the Interior. 

DeSmog discovered the hire via LinkedIn, and Wynn says on his profile page that he began at Interior in October.

Wynn worked at ALEC from 2011 to 2013 and then became Director of External Affairs for Edison Electric Institute (EEI), a trade association representing electric utility companies nationwide. Prior to his position at ALEC, Wynn served as Vice President of the Cascade Policy Institute, a part of the State Policy Network (SPN), a national chain of state-level conservative and corporate-funded think-tanks which was started as an ALEC offshoot.

ALEC's critics have described the organization, a national consortium of mostly Republican Party state legislators and corporate lobbyists, as a “corporate bill mill.” That's because its lobbyist members convene several times a year with legislators to produce what it calls “model bills” which have ended up as actual legislation thousands of times since the organization's founding in 1973.

Fred L. Smith, Jr.

Fred L. Smith, Jr.

Credentials

  • Bachelor's of Science in Theoretical Mathematics and Political Science from Tulane University. [1]

Background

Read time: 16 mins

Ex-Trump Adviser Myron Ebell’s Climate Denial Earns Open Laughs at Energy Investment Summit

Read time: 6 mins
Myron Ebell talks to moderator at Bloomberg Future of Energy Summit

Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and a prominent denier of climate science, found himself on the receiving end of pronounced skepticism at a Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) Summit on Monday as he denounced a broad array of targets.

“My views on climate science are that I have a very profound respect for science, so I don't have much respect for a lot of what passes as climate science,” Ebell said, prompting murmurs from a room packed with several hundred energy financiers and industry executives.

Ebell, who rocketed to national prominence when he was tapped to run Trump's Environmental Protection Agency transition team, faced laughter and some quiet jeering as he conveyed his ideas about climate change and the economy to investors gathered at the BNEF Future of Energy Summit.

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