PR Battle Over Cap-and-Trade Reaches a Fevered Pitch

Oil and coal companies — the most vocal opponents of US cap-and-trade climate legislation — have spent more than $76 million over the last four months on public relations and mass advertising trying to to defeat the climate bill now before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. When you combine that incredible sum with money spent by gas producers and heavy industries, it’s safe to claim that many of America’s leading companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in 2009 to discredit climate change legislation and, by extension, the science of global warming. One environmentalist suggested that the final tally will be in excess of $1 billion.
Which isn’t to suggest that cap-and-trade legislation supporters haven’t opened their pockets, too: it’s just that their bank accounts aren’t nearly so deep. The Campaign Media Analysis Group suggests that cap-and-trade proponents have spent $28.6 million to convince us that a low-carbon economy is vitally important to the US, and the planet.

The cap-and-trade spoiler campaign is multifaceted, and it includes industry front groups and lobbying firms which have been buying television, print, and radio advertising in important markets and across the US. These same industries have also made donations to key members of Congress. As many as 12 pivotal House Democrats come from coal- or oil-producing states, and nine of that number have accepted donations greater than $90,000 from the fossil fuel industries and utility companies during the last US last election.
It’s a well-honed plan of attack. Democrats accepting fossil fuel money hold key positions on Chairman Henry Waxman’s House Energy and Commerce Committee, and the suggestion is obvious that they could be swayed by parochial interests. That’s why many environmentalists are suggesting that this is ground zero for cap-and-trade legislation. Analysts believe that the real danger isn’t getting a cap-and-trade vote in the House, it’s getting strong legislation out of committee.
Recent pronouncements from Beltway insiders suggest that the Waxman-Markey bill has been watered down over the last week, and that House Democrats have seen enough movement in favor of industry to bring the package to a vote. We’ll be watching closely to see what measures are included – and which have fallen by the wayside – after the dust settles

Richard is a writer and editor based in Halifax, Nova Scotia who specializes in clean technology and climate change. He's the founder of One Blue Marble, a climate change activism blog and web site.

5 responses

  1. Man-made global warming is a LIE and “cap-and-trade proponents have spent $28.6 million” is another LIE. Environmental groups may have spent only $28.6m promoting cap and trade, but they are not really the ones behind the global warming/cap and trade scam.
    The ones behind the scam — Obama and his billionaire global warming promoting friends (Gore, Soros, Goldman Sachs, the Chicago Climate Exchange guys, GE, etc.) — have much deeper pockes than all oil and coal companies, and they are the ones promoting the scam.
    GE, for example, has bombarded us with daily global warming propaganda — through its NBC networks, that includes MSNBC and CNBC. Why? Because they stand to make BILLIONS at our expense. Not only GE is the largest wind turbine generator maker, but it may benefit as the sole “secondary market” trader of the cap and trade credits.
    More and more scientists and thinking people all over the world are realizing that man-made global warming is a hoax that threatens our future and the future of our children. More than 700 international scientists dissent over man-made global warming claims. They are now more than 13 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media-hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers.
    Additionally, more than 30,000 American scientists have signed onto a petition that states, “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.”
    Cap and Trade “would be the equivalent of an atomic bomb directed at the U.S. economy – all without any scientific justification,” says famed climatologist Dr. S. Fred Singer. It would significantly increase taxes and the cost of energy, forcing many companies to close, thus increasing unemployment, poverty and dependence.

  2. Antonio Sosa:

    Might I suggest that you Google the term Astroturfing. It’s a targeted misinformation campaign – first developed by the tobacco industry – that directs money to phony groups and institutes to spread doubt about global warming. You mention a petition signed by 30,000 so-called “scientists” who claim that global warming is hoax, but perhaps you didn’t know that this is a documented and verifiable falsehood that originates with one of these so-called institutes.

    Of all the oily tricks played by the global warming denier industry, The Oregon Petition is one of the oiliest. It was organized by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine – a scientific that nevertheless doesn’t do any real science.

    The Petition Project was organized by late Frederick Seitz, who at one time was a real scientist, and a former President of the National Academy of Science. The project started by sending a so-called scientific study – really just a diatribe written by climate change skeptics that was filled with half-truths – asking “scientists” to sign a petition urging the US government not to ratify the Kyoto Accord.

    The petition and that accompanying letter were written on a letterhead and in the style of a scientific paper that made it seem like it had been published Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, so it was designed to be deceptive.

    After the petition appeared, the NAS issued a press release. “The NAS Council would like to make it clear that this petition has nothing to do with the National Academy of Sciences and that the manuscript was not published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences or in any other peer-reviewed journal.”[14] It also said “The petition does not reflect the conclusions of expert reports of the Academy.”

    Nevertheless, 17,000 did sign the petition, and Seitz would have you believe that all 17,000 – or 31,000 in 2009 – are working scientists with PhDs. In fact, virtually none of them are. When you look deeper into the list, it falls apart. The vast majority of signatories have nothing more than a bachelor’s degree. By Seitz’s definition, I’m an advanced scientist. As well, scattering among the number of “scientists” are signatures by Spice Girl Dr. Geri Halliwell, author John Grisham, Hawkeye Pierce and BJ Honeycutt from MASH. (These have since been removed).

    Of the original 17,000, almost 10,000 signatures come from engineers, another 3,063 come from physicians and veterinarians. I have no doubt that these professionals are smart people, but it would be difficult to believe they are climate change experts.

    But even if we allow their signatures to stand unchallenged, they prove nothing. Even if more than 3,000 doctors and veterinarians signed the petition that would mean that 99.7 percent of all doctors practicing in the US didn’t sign the petition, and 99.2 percent of US engineers didn’t sign.

    The Petition is a fraud and a deception.

  3. Good post and reply Richard.
    It would be interesting for Antonio to actually address the science he is so sure is a lie and cite the work of these scientists he claims are growing in number disputing the science (or the empirical evidence) that climate change is real.
    It may surprise him if he got beyond his bubble and saw what was actually happening in the rest of the world. Antonio and others with similar views are becoming more and more isolated in the world. They may have every right to their belief, but the rest of us need to just move on and deal with our children’s future.
    For most of the rest of the world, the debate that Antonio insists on bringing to the table (or tries to, if only his research and facts could support it) is long over.

  4. That money should be used to build solar power plants, generate electricity that companies can purchase and they don’t have to pay ” cap & trade”. They will purchase solar power today, but solar power plants are not around that means that they have to pay “cap & trade” ubtil solar energy becomes avaliable.

  5. Thanks, Tom and WK for posting.
    WK… $1 billion could buy a lot of solar panels and wind turbines!
    Two additional points, Antonio: Al Gore isn’t making a penny from his investments in slowing climate change. The profits he makes from being a partner in Kleiner Perkins are redirected toward not-for-profit groups that are giving battle to the Exxons of this world. You may not like his politics, or the environmental groups that he works with, and I’m OK with that. You are entitled to your own opinion, but you shouldn’t have to make things up to support your point-of-view.
    Similarly with your contention that only 52 scientists authored the IPCC report. The truth: Scientists from more 130 countries contributed to the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report over six years. These people included more than 2500 scientific expert reviewers, more than 800 contributing authors, and more than 450 lead authors.
    Recent evidence, by the way, suggests that the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report got it wrong… Climate change is coming much faster and much harder than predicted.

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