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Science and Public Policy

Dem Senator’s Floor Speech to Attack Nonprofit Critical of Her

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen targets group that exposed green group coordination

by Lachlan Markay     •      Washington Free Beacon

A Democratic Senator will take to the chamber floor on Tuesday to attack a group that exposed her secret collaboration with environmentalist pressure groups in crafting official press statements.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.) is scheduled to attack the Energy and Environment Legal Institute on the Senate floor on Tuesday as part of a coordinated PR offensive against conservative and libertarian nonprofit groups.

Nineteen Senate Democrats involved in the effort were tasked with using floor speeches to attack specific groups, which they are branding as parts of a “web of denial” seeking to impede Democratic energy and environmental policies. Continue reading


Dems Assigned Conservative Groups to Attack on Senate Floor

List of ‘web of denial’ targets circulated ahead of climate resolution

by Lachlan Markay     •     Washington Free Beacon

Democratic senators have been assigned conservative nonprofit groups to call out by name on the chamber floor in speeches on Monday and Tuesday criticizing corporations and advocacy groups for opposing Democratic climate policies, internal emails reveal.

Nineteen Senate Democrats will attack specific organizations in what they are calling a “web of denial,” according to a schedule of floor speeches circulated by Emily Enderle, a top environmental policy adviser to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.), who is spearheading the effort.

Internal emails about the effort obtained by the Free Beacon reveal a highly coordinated plan between members of Congress and environmental activist groups to fuel a public relations and legal offensive against fossil fuel companies and groups they support. Continue reading


Virgin Islands AG Drops Exxon Subpoena

Setback for coalition of Dem AGs seeking racketeering charges

By Lachlan MarkayWashington Free Beacon

walker

The attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands withdrew his subpoena of oil giant Exxon Mobil on Wednesday afternoon, dealing the first setback to a group of Democratic officials seeking racketeering charges against the company.

Exxon told a federal court that AG Claude Walker had agreed to walk away if the company would drop a related lawsuit alleging that the subpoena violated its constitutional rights and the laws of its home state of Texas.

Walker was the third state attorney general, after New York and Massachusetts, to subpoena Exxon Mobil over allegations that it committed fraud and racketeering by misleading customers and shareholders about the risks of climate change.

Walker is the first to walk back the effort against Exxon, but he is also in litigation in Washington, D.C., over a separate subpoena sent to a libertarian nonprofit that received donations from Exxon more than a decade ago.

Both subpoenas have triggered legal action. In a federal lawsuit filed three weeks after it was subpoenaed, Exxon alleged that Walker’s subpoena violated its “rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, the Texas Constitution, and Texas common law.”

District Judge Ed Kinkeane ordered Exxon and Walker to meet no later than July 11 to discuss “the possibilities for a prompt resolution of the case.” Exxon’s filing notified the court that they’d reached an agreement to withdraw both the subpoena and the resulting lawsuit.

Walker had asked for a massive number of internal Exxon documents, including documents pertaining to its internal deliberations and projections about climate change, but also requested communications with nearly a hundred nonprofit groups.

They included conservative and libertarian advocacy groups, but also more mundane organizations such as the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, the Arizona State University office of climatology, and Africa Fighting Malaria.

New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman and Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey asked for communications with many of the same research and advocacy groups, including the Heritage Foundation, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Cato Institute.

Schneiderman is the leader of a group of 20 state attorneys general that have seized on reports from news organizations funded by environmentalist groups that allege that Exxon misled the public about the risks its product poses.

Exxon and other critics say it is an unconstitutional effort to use state governments’ legal authority to shut down political speech and advocacy with which the attorneys general disagree.

The attorneys general, all Democrats, have been planning the legal campaign for more than a year. When a Schneiderman aide emailed a questionnaire to other attorneys general involved in the effort, Walker said he was “eager to hear what other attorneys general are doing and find concrete ways to work together on litigation to increase our leverage.”

Though Walker has withdrawn his Exxon subpoena, he also subpoenaed the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian group that used to receive Exxon funding, seeking evidence in its investigation into the company.

Walker has dropped his effort to enforce that subpoena in D.C., where CEI is based, but has not actually withdrawn it. The group is now alleging that the effort violated a DC law against lawsuits designed to censor, harass, or intimidate a public critic. A federal judge heard arguments on that motion on Tuesday.

The larger campaign was orchestrated behind the scenes with leaders of prominent environmental groups and deep-pocketed foundations that fund them and the news organizations whose reporting ostensibly spurred the investigation.

According to internal documents detailing the effort, its goals are to “delegitimize [ExxonMobil] as a political actor,” “force officials to disassociate themselves from Exxon,” “drive divestment from Exxon,” and “to drive Exxon & climate into center of 2016 election.”

Democratic lawmakers have also pressed the Justice Department to bring civil racketeering charges against Exxon over the same allegations. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has said that she referred the case to the FBI, which is deciding whether to prosecute.


Should Single Moms Be Forced to Subsidize Luxury Electric Cars for Rich Professionals?

By George LandrithConservative Review

bmw wheel shot

A lot has happened in the U.S. since 2007 – the last time Congress passed a substantive energy bill. The U.S. has gone from being a nation bereft of energy resources to become one of the world’s major energy producers. Because of the rapid development of our energy infrastructure, many on Capitol Hill argue that we need to modernize our energy laws. Both the House and the Senate have been working on energy bills to do just that – albeit through wildly different approaches.

The Senate bill (S. 2012) hardly qualifies as an effort at reform or change. In its 420 pages, it perpetuates the tired and failed “big government knows best, manages best, and spends taxpayer money best” approach to public policy.

Instead of eliminating wasteful subsidies and onerous mandates, the Senate bill too often goes in the opposite direction to manipulate market signals and further distort energy prices. Continue reading


10 Years Later, Al Gore Says His Film ‘Underestimated’ Global Warming

by Michael Bastasch     •     Daily Caller

Gore Global Warming LiesFormer Vice President Al Gore told The Hollywood Reporter his 2006 film “An Inconvenient Truth” actually underestimated how serious global warming would be — despite all the patently false predictions he made in the film.

“I wish the film had over-estimated the seriousness of the crisis, but unfortunately it actually underestimated how serious it is,” Gore told THR in an interview Thursday, just days before the 10th anniversary of his film.

“But on the positive side, solutions are now being developed so quickly that there is real cause for hope and optimism,” Gore said.

Gore’s 2006 film claimed global warming was the greatest challenge facing mankind, and that human-produced carbon dioxide emissions were pushing the Earth towards an ecological disaster. The film even won Gore and his crew two Oscars in 2007, and the movie revitalized Gore’s political relevance. Continue reading


Academic Mob Chases ‘Climate Change Contrarian’ Bjorn Lomborg Off Campus

Want an independent thinker out of your university? Instigate a “passionate emotional reaction” against him.

Brendan O’Neill     •     Reason.com

Bjorn Lomborg

“Are you now or have you ever been a climate contrarian?”

How long before this McCarthyite question is asked of everyone who enters into academia, in order to weed out those who refuse to bow and scrape before green orthodoxy?

If you think this sounds like a far-fetched proposition, consider a recent scandalous act of academic censorship at the University of Western Australia (UWA). And consider, more importantly, the lack of outrage it caused in the West’s professorial circles.

It involves Bjorn Lomborg, the blonde-haired, Danish annoyer of environmentalists everywhere.

Famous for his book The Skeptical Environmentalist—in which he argued that, yes, climate change is real, but, no, cutting back on economic growth won’t help—Lomborg has been a brilliant piece of grit in one-eyed green thinking for more than a decade.

The Australian government, headed by the semi-skeptical Prime Minister Tony Abbott, decided to offer a base to Lomborg for his greenish but pro-growth analysis and agitation. Continue reading


Who Are the Real Deniers of Science?

When denying science is a progressive moral imperative

By Jonah Goldberg     •     National Review

Science CavemanWhy do liberals hate science?

The Left has long claimed that it has something of a monopoly on scientific expertise. For instance, long before Al Gore started making millions by claiming that anyone who disagreed with his apocalyptic prophecies was “anti-science,” there were the “scientific socialists.” “Social engineer” is now rightly seen as a term of scorn and derision, but it was once a label that progressive eggheads eagerly accepted.

Masking opinions in a white smock is a brilliant, albeit infuriating and shabby, rhetorical tactic. As the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” Science is the language of facts, and when people pretend to be speaking it, they’re not only claiming that their preferences are more than mere opinions, they’re also insinuating that anyone who disagrees is a fool or a zealot for objecting to “settled science.” Continue reading


The Assault on Science

By Robert Zubrin     •     National Review

Climate Change FairtalesRecently, the attorneys general of a number of states have launched an effort to use the RICO anti–​organized-crime statute to prosecute opponents of climate-change alarmism. This is nothing less than an all-out attack on science.

There are several vital issues involved here, involving not only substance, but, even more important, process. Let’s start with the latter.

Science is not a collection of facts; it is a process of discovery. Science, alongside its sister, conscience, is based on the signature Western individualist belief that there is a fundamental property of the human mind that, when presented with sufficient information, is able to distinguish right from wrong, justice from injustice, truth from untruth. Matters of science must therefore be determined by reason, not by force. To attempt to prevail in a scientific dispute through the use of force is equivalent to the use of a gun to prevail in a courtroom, or, for that matter, of rape to prevail in courtship. It is nothing less than a criminal rejection of a basic principle of our civilization. Continue reading


The Crumbling Climate-Change Consensus

Extremists’ rhetoric heats up as their case falls apart.

By John Fund     •     National Review

global warning-catastrophic predictions-apocalypticThe United Nations Climate Summit will begin in New York this Tuesday, but environmental activists didn’t wait. All day Sunday, they filled the streets of Manhattan for a march that featured Al Gore, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, and various Hollywood actors.

But they certainly didn’t act like a movement that was winning. There was a tone of fatalism in the comments of many with whom I spoke; they despair that the kind of radical change they advocate probably won’t result from the normal democratic process. It’s no surprise then that the rhetoric of climate-change activists has become increasingly hysterical. Naomi Klein, author of a new book on the “crisis,” This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, said, “I have seen the future, and it looks like New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.” In her new book she demands that North America and Europe pay reparations to poorer countries to compensate for the climate change they cause. She calls her plan a “Marshall Plan for the Earth” and acknowledges that it would cost “hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars.” But she has an easy solution on how to pay for it: “Need more money? Print some!” What’s a little hyperinflation compared to “saving the planet”? Continue reading


Yes, Let’s Prosecute Climate-Change Fraud — and Start with the Scaremongers

If propounding pseudoscience in pursuit of self-serving goals is a crime, here are some hardened offenders.

By David French     •     National Review

Gore Global Warming LiesThe attorneys general of New York and California are on the warpath. They’re fed up with dissent over the science and politics of global warming, and they’re ready to investigate the liars. California’s Kamala Harris and New York’s Eric Schneiderman have Exxon in their sights, and they’re trying to pry open the books to see whether the corporation properly warned shareholders “about the risk to its business from climate change.” Not to be outdone, Attorney General Loretta Lynch revealed that the federal Department of Justice has “discussed” the possibility of civil suits against the fossil-fuel industry. The smell of litigation is in the air.

Some people are worried about little things like the “First Amendment,” “academic freedom,” and “scientific integrity.” Not me. I hate unscientific nonsense. So if Harris and Schneiderman are up for suing people who’ve made piles of cash peddling exaggerations and distortions, let’s roll out some test cases. I’ve got three ideas:

United States v. Al Gore: Ten years ago, the former vice president of the United States launched an extraordinarily lucrative career by selling climate doomsday. While promoting his Oscar-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, he made a shockingly false statement. He said that unless the world took “drastic measures” to reduce greenhouse gases, it would reach a “point of no return” in ten years. Continue reading


House Republicans launch free-speech probe into prosecutors targeting climate skeptics

By Valerie Richardson     •     The Washington Times

House Republicans launched Wednesday an investigation into the 17 attorneys general pursuing fraud allegations against climate change skeptics, citing concerns about the campaign’s impact on free speech and scientific inquiry.

“Americans are entitled to express their views on matters of science and public policy even if certain groups disagree,” said a statement from the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.

Thirteen Republicans on the committee sent letters Wednesday to the attorneys general requesting information on a series of meetings and communications with climate change groups and activists from 2012 until the March 29 press conference announcing AGs United for Clean Power. Continue reading


The Crumbling Climate-Change Consensus

Extremists’ rhetoric heats up as their case falls apart.

By John Fund     •     National Review Online

climate change_global warming_scienceThe United Nations Climate Summit will begin in New York this Tuesday, but environmental activists didn’t wait. All day Sunday, they filled the streets of Manhattan for a march that featured Al Gore, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, and various Hollywood actors.

But they certainly didn’t act like a movement that was winning. There was a tone of fatalism in the comments of many with whom I spoke; they despair that the kind of radical change they advocate probably won’t result from the normal democratic process. It’s no surprise then that the rhetoric of climate-change activists has become increasingly hysterical. Naomi Klein, author of a new book on the “crisis,” This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, said, “I have seen the future, and it looks like New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.” In her new book she demands that North America and Europe pay reparations to poorer countries to compensate for the climate change they cause. She calls her plan a “Marshall Plan for the Earth” and acknowledges that it would cost “hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars.” But she has an easy solution on how to pay for it: “Need more money? Print some!” What’s a little hyperinflation compared to “saving the planet”? Continue reading


200 years ago, the sky went dark and there was no summer

by Ishaan Tharoor     •     Washington Post

Sulfuric gases from Mount Tambora’s crater seep around its caldera area in West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, on June 22, 2011. (Fikria Hidayat/KOMPAS Images via AP)

As summer approaches, many in the United States will be awaiting warmer, balmier days. It’s a prospect keenly felt right now by those in the nation’s capital, which has endured two weeks of ceaseless rain.

But things could be much worse. Two hundred years ago, the U.S. Eastern Seaboard registered record-low temperatures. On June 6, 1816, six inches of snow fell across wide swaths of New England. “The heads of all the mountains on every side were crowned with snow,” one area farmer wrote. “The most gloomy and extraordinary weather ever seen.”

A Connecticut clockmaker recalled at the time having to wear an overcoat and mittens for much of the summer; another bookkeeper noted in his diary that “the vegetation does not seem to advance at all.” Frosts set in and crops failed. In Montreal, there were reports of frozen birds dropping dead on the city streets. Denizens of Vermont were forced to subsist on “nettles, wild turnips and hedgehogs.” Continue reading


‘Climate Hustle’ debuts as skeptics take on global-warming ‘consensus’

By Valerie Richardson     •     The Washington Times

Even before the skeptical documentary “Climate Hustle” hits U.S. theaters Monday, it already has unsettled the climate change debate.

Weather Channel founder John Coleman rushed to the defense of the film, which challenges the catastrophic climate change narrative, after “science guy” Bill Nye slammed it in a clip released over the weekend as “not in our national interest and the world’s interest.”

“I have always been amazed that anyone would pay attention to Bill Nye, a pretend scientist in a bow tie,” Mr. Coleman said Saturday on the website Climate Depot.

“As a man who has studied the science of meteorology for over 60 years and received the [American Meteorological Society] Meteorologist of the Year award, I am totally offended that Nye gets the press and media attention he does,” Mr. Coleman said. “And I am rooting for the ‘Climate Hustle’ film to become a huge hit — bigger than ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ by Al Gore.” Continue reading


Dear attorneys general, conspiring against free speech is a crime

by Glenn Harlan Reynolds     •     USAToday

Free speechFederal law makes it a felony “for two or more persons to agree together to injure, threaten, or intimidate a person in any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the Unites States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same).”

I wonder if U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker, or California Attorney General Kamala Harris, or New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have read this federal statute. Because what they’re doing looks like a concerted scheme to restrict the First Amendment free speech rights of people they don’t agree with. They should look up 18 U.S.C. Sec. 241, I am sure they each have it somewhere in their offices.

Here’s what’s happened so far. First, Schneiderman and reportedly Harris sought to investigate Exxon in part for making donations to groups and funding research by individuals who think “climate change” is either a hoax, or not a problem to the extent that people like Harris and Schneiderman say it is. Continue reading