Big coal – in the form of the National Rural Electric Association, Koch Industries, American Electric Power, the Southern Company, the National Association of Manufacturers and others are planning a major blitz against efforts to fight global warming.
The plan is a retread of a similar campaign launched in the early 1990s by coal interests. The latest version is spelled out in what is dubbed a “Vampire Memo” because it resurrects an earlier campaign which was discredited and abandoned in the mid 1990s. You can download the IREA Vampire memo here.
The “Vampire Memo” from the Intermountain Rural Electric Association(IREA) draws on the work of such industry-funded skeptics as Pat Michaels, Fred Singer, Robert Balling and Craig Idso – as well as such ideologues as Richard Lindzen and William Gray who have long been laughingstocks in the community of mainstream climate scientists. It notes that the IREA alone has paid Michaels at least $100,000 – and is soliciting more money for Michaels et al from other coal outlets. Among other initiatives, the memo notes that several of the participating companies are planning to finance a major film to counteract the influence of Al Gore's “An Inconvenient Truth.”
And, coincidentally or not, it concludes with conditions which are identical to those of President George W. Bush – that any effort to combat global warming include developing countries (specifically India and China), that all sources of CO2 be included in any such plan and that it must not be permitted to damage the US economy.
According to the memo, environmentalists' efforts to combat global warming would realize the environmentalists' “dream of an egalitarian society based on rejection of economic growth in favor of a smaller population, eating lower on the food chain, consuming a lot less and sharing a much lower level of resources much more equitably.”
The memo notes that such an effort has strong allies in Washington in the form of will receive help from people like Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), who has called global warming “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people” and Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) who has been leading a witch hunt against Dr. Michael Mann, one of the country's pre-eminent climate scientists.
The campaign is basically the resurrection of a similar campaign launched by the Western Fuels (coal) Association in the early 1990s – long before the state of climate science was mature. This current campaign, however, follows unqualified findings by more than 2,000 scientists from 100 countries who reported that that there is no question that humans are changing the climate – and that the pace of climate change is accelerating at a potentially catastrophic rate. Those findings represent the conclusions of the largest and most rigorously peer-reviewed scientific collaboration in history.
Unfortunately, their implications threaten the survival of one of the largest industries on the planet. The coal and oil industries generate more than $1 trillion a year in commerce. By resurrecting an old and long-discredited disinformation campaign, the IREA and its allies are displaying an amazing lack of creativity.
But given the warnings of the world's leading climate scientists – that humanity has 10 years or less to avoid passing a “point of no return” – they are displaying a truly sinister disregard for us and our children. Unchecked, global warming will trash our planet and truncate our future – all because of the truly sinister and truly unconscionable pursuit of profit. This, in short, represents the triumph of greed over the most basic human instinct – that of survival.