State Sen. Mark Green (R-Tenn.-22), speaking today at the American Legislative Exchange Council States & Nation Policy Summit in Washington, D.C., rejects the science of global warming. In a September 15, 2013 tweet, Sen. Green said, “I think we need to be concerned about global cooling.”
Green’s tweet cites a Climate Depot link to a blogpost with the headline “Earth Gains A Record Amount Of Sea Ice In 2013.”
This factoid is an indicator of global warming, not global cooling. As the climate has become destabilized, the annual variation in global sea ice has increased, with greater swings in both the Arctic and Antarctic. Arctic sea ice is in a “death spiral”, as is global land ice. As Antarctica warms, its land ice mass is in decline, while its sea ice extent is on the increase as oceanic and atmospheric circulation patterns change in the Southern hemisphere.
Climate Depot is the website of former Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) spokesman Marc Morano.
Green’s tweet continues with a link to a Wall Street Journal opinion piece by climate-change denier Matt Ridley, which argues “the overall effect of climate change will be positive for humankind and the planet.”
A 2011 ALEC conference presented a panel entitled “Warming Up to Climate Change: The Many Benefits of Increased Atmospheric CO2.”
Green is also a military veteran, former field surgeon, and radical gun-rights advocate.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) Claims Global Warming 'Assumptions' Are 'Totally Undermined By The Latest Science'
Freshman Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) rejects the science of man-made climate change. In a 2012 interview with Dallas News, Cruz claimed that global warming ceased in 1997, misquoted climate scientist Kevin Trenberth, and claimed that the threat of greenhouse gas pollution is “scientific assumptions that have been totally undermined by the latest science.” Cruz also claimed that any form of market-based or regulatory limits on carbon pollution would “devastate” the United States.
The Dallas News voter guide asked the question: “What is your view on the science of man-made climate change? Do you support legislation that would reduce the output of greenhouse gases, and, if so, what approach would you take?”Sen. Ted Cruz on global warming:
My view of climate science is the same as that of many climate scientists: We need a much better understanding of the climate before making policy choices that would impose substantial economic costs on our Nation. There remains considerable uncertainty about the effect of the many factors that influence climate: the sun, the oceans, clouds, the behavior of water vapor (the main greenhouse gas), volcanic activity, and human activity. Nonetheless, climate-change proponents based their models on assumptions about those factors, and now we know that many of those assumptions were wrong. For example, the models predicted accelerated warming over the last 15 years, but there has been no warming during that time.
Even Dr. Kenneth Trenberth, the lead author of the U.N. IPCC 4th Assessment Report, recently said, “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” So, we need to be good stewards of the environment, but we also have to be rational. We came very close to adopting a cap & tax scheme that would have devastated our economy without a single demonstrable benefit. Now EPA has adopted greenhouse gas regulations on the basis of scientific assumptions that have been totally undermined by the latest science—and those regulations are going to have a devastating impact on many American families and businesses if we don’t roll them back.
In March 2013, Cruz blocked mention of “changes in climate” in an International Women’s Day proclamation. “A provision expressing the Senate’s views on such a controversial topic as ‘climate change’ has no place in a supposedly noncontroversial resolution requiring consent of all 100 U.S. senators,” a spokesman said.
In June, Cruz blasted President Obama’s global warming agenda as “killing jobs” with a “national energy tax.”
At the American Legislative Exchange Council’s upcoming States & Nation Policy Summit, the corporate lobbying group will be considering a resolution aimed to stall rooftop solar deployment.
Green Tech Media’s Stephen Lacey reports:
In early December, ALEC will be holding a task force meeting on energy and environmental issues in Washington, D.C. It has now included net metering on its list of priorities for “model legislation” in 2014.
ALEC recently put together a draft resolution on net metering that will set up discussions at next month’s task force meeting on writing laws changing net metering policies.
As currently written, the resolution lacks detail. But the broad framework mirrors the current debate within utilities about how to restructure crediting mechanisms for solar owners:
- Update net metering policies to require that everyone who uses the grid helps pay to maintain it and to keep it operating reliably at all times;
- Create a fixed grid charge or other rate mechanisms that recover grid costs from DG systems to ensure that costs are transparent to the customer; and
- Ensure electric rates are fair and affordable for all customers and that all customers have safe and reliable electricity.
“The Edison Electric Institute (EEI), a trade group for investor-owned utilities, helped write the resolution with ALEC,” writes Lacey. “And Arizona Public Service, a utility at the center of the battle around net metering policy, is also a member of the organization’s energy and environment task force.”
“We supported them. [...] We worked with them on that resolution,” said Rick Tempchin, executive director of retail energy services at EEI, in a video recorded surreptitiously by the Checks and Balances Project. Lacey continues:
Over the summer, EEI released a report warning that distributed generation technologies like solar “directly threaten the centralized utility model” and called for increased attention on how to manage disruption in the power sector.
Months later, EEI began spending money on a campaign to support changes to net metering policy in Arizona — adding to the $9 million already spent by Arizona Public Service.
The electric utility on ALEC’s corporate board, Energy Future Holdings, tells the public it is committed to supporting renewable energy.
Also on the agenda for the energy task force at the 2013 summit is “Discussion of strategies legislative and private sector members can employ to address EPA’s rulemaking to limit greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants.” The task force plans to keep ALEC “on record opposing any EPA efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.”
ALEC’s anti-climate agenda is raising questions about why publicly green companies have recently joined the organization. For example, in 2011, Google invested over $350 million in rooftop-solar deployment. In 2013, Google joined ALEC.
Susan Molinari at a Google/Elle/Center for American Progress event January 19, 2013
Since 2012, Google’s policy division has been run by former Republican representative Susan Molinari, a long-time corporate lobbyist. Molinari, whose personal contributions are exclusively to Republicans, has led the Google Washington DC office to host fundraisers exclusively for Republican senators, including Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), John Thune (R-S.D.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), according to the Sunlight Foundation’s Political Party Time database. Under Molinari’s direction, Google also supports climate-denial shops such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Heritage Foundation, and the American Conservative Union.
Google’s political support for opponents of its green agenda appears to be part of a retreat from its serious climate-policy agenda of a few years ago.
In 2007, renewable energy politico Dan Reicher joined Google as Director, Climate Change and Energy Initiatives for Google.org, the company’s charitable arm.
Starting that year, Google publicly committed to carbon neutrality because “Solving climate change won’t be simple, and there won’t be a single solution that addresses the entire problem at once. We all need to act together to meet the challenge – from the largest corporations and governments to individual households.”Google pledged then:
Finally, we will campaign for public policies designed to cut emissions to the levels required to keep our climate system stable. We support energy efficiency standards that accelerate the deployment of energy-efficient technologies throughout the world, specific targets to increase renewable energy supplies on the grid, public support for research and development aimed at developing and commercializing low-carbon technologies, and mandatory emissions limits that put a price on carbon.
Google’s climate policy platform initially included efficiency standards, a federal renewable portfolio standard, public funding for clean-energy research and development, and a price on greenhouse pollution.
“Meeting our goal will also require improved regulatory frameworks at the regional and national level,” Google continued. “We will advocate for specific changes including a national renewable portfolio standard, increased research and development support, and regional and federal incentives for the deployment of renewable electricity.”
The call for a carbon price was eliminated from Google’s site at the end of 2007. The individual policy provisions were replaced with the Jeffery Greenblatt, who left Google in 2009 to join the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Reicher, who testified repeatedly before Congress in favor of climate and clean-energy legislation on Google’s behalf in 2009, left Google at the end of 2010, to join the Stanford Center for Energy Policy and Finance.
In 2011, Google.org published “The Impact of Clean Energy Innovation,” which compared policy scenarios including a suite of renewable-energy policies and a $30/ton carbon tax. This research was led by Google Green Energy Czar Bill Weihl, who was hired by Facebook at the end of that year.
Then Molinari joined Google in 2012.
We’re not an advocacy or a single-issue organization. We’re a company. We are members of many different organizations, that one included. We don’t necessarily agree with everything that these organizations says and certainly individual employees may not, but we do an enormous amount of good and we’re really proud of the work we’ve done through other organizations. We work with Greenpeace, BSR, WRI, WWF, and etcetera.Watch:
“It’s certainly not because we’re trying to oppose renewable energy legislation,” Weihl concluded, when asked why Facebook is a member of ALEC.
Weihl had earlier noted that Facebook has the explicit goal of being 25% powered by renewable energy by 2015, after which it will set another benchmark. ALEC is working to roll back renewable power standards that support Facebook’s targets.
“The DNA of Google isn’t just about being an environmental steward,” Google’s Gary Demasi said during the panel about climate change. “It’s a basic fundamental issue for the company.”
Like Weihl, Demasi couldn’t explain why Google was a member of ALEC, though he expressed discomfort with the company’s action.
“I would say the same as Bill [Weihl],” Demasi told this reporter when asked why Google supports ALEC. Although he may not be happy with every decision the company makes and doesn’t control the policy arm of Google, Demasi said, “we’re part of policy discussions.”
ALEC’s corporate board is dominated by tobacco and fossil-fuel interests, including Altria, Exxon Mobil, Peabody Energy, and Koch Industries. In its model legislation and policy briefs, ALEC questions the science of climate change and opposes renewable energy standards, regulation of greenhouse pollution, and other climate initiatives.
Google’s policy division is run by former Republican representative Susan Molinari, whose arrival in 2012 marked a rightward shift in Google’s approach to climate policy.
The forum, “Greening the Internet,” was hosted by the environmental organization Greenpeace at the San Francisco Exploratorium. Greenpeace is simultaneously challenging the ALEC agenda, calling out companies like Google for supporting the politics of climate denial, and encouraging internet companies to “clean the cloud.” Greenpeace’s “Cool IT” rankings take political advocacy as a major concern; in 2012 Google had the top score among all tech companies in part because companies such as Microsoft and AT&T were members of ALEC.
The panelists, from Google, Facebook, Rackspace, Box, and NREL, explained why their companies have set the goal of having their data centers be powered entirely by renewable energy.
Box’s Andy Broer made the moral case for acting to reduce climate pollution.
“I’ve got kids,” he said. “We’re stewards here. We need to make certain what we’re doing today doesn’t ruin the future.”
HILLHEAT: I want to, first off, thank all of you for the work that you’re doing. As kind of a failed climate scientist, I’ve dedicated my life to fighting climate change, and you’re actually getting real results in that. One thing that concerns me is that the American Legislative Exchange Council — which is a corporate group that anyone who is a member of Greenpeace or has read anything of their work [knows] — works to block renewable energy legislation at the state level, question the science of climate change, and basically establish policies that prevent the kind of work that you’re doing. So I’m wondering why Google and Facebook are members of this organization, and how it makes you feel that the work that you’re doing is essentially being countered by the political arms of your own groups?
[Nervous audience laughter.]
WEIHL: We’re not an advocacy or a single-issue organization. We’re a company. We are members of many different organizations, that one included. We don’t necessarily agree with everything that these organizations says and certainly individual employees may not, but we are in a position do an enormous amount of good, and we’re really proud of the work we’ve done as a company, and through other organizations. We work with Greenpeace, BSR, WRI, WWF, and et cetera.
HILLHEAT: And do you know why you’re working with ALEC?
WEIHL: I’m not familiar with all the details of why we’re working with ALEC, so I can’t comment on that.
HILLHEAT: It’s not because you’re trying to oppose renewable energy legislation?
WEIHL: It’s certainly not because we’re trying to oppose renewable energy legislation.
HILLHEAT: And is Google in the same boat?
FEHRENBACHER: I’m going to go on to the next question.
Below is an editorial comment from Hill Heat editor Brad Johnson, a new feature. In addition to occasional commentary from leading climate voices, Hill Heat will continue its aggressive and accurate reporting on climate politics and policy.
I just read Ryan Cooper’s excellent post on Bill McKibben, 350, and the climate movement. His rejoinder to Jonathan Chait’s misguided screed was spot on and well needed. As someone who has engaged in the professions of blogging and organizing, I have to say Ryan hit the nail on the head on how much harder it is — or at least how much a different set of skills is required — to help build a movement than it is to be a pundit:
Organizing a mass movement is hard. I’ve done a bit of organizing myself—I started a chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy in college, and I was extraordinarily terrible at it. Like many pundits (not necessarily Chait), I’m cynical, easily discouraged, lazy, and most importantly, an absolutely atrocious leader. By contrast, sitting in my chair writing blog posts, while not exactly easy, is compelling and interesting and satisfying in a way that makes it no problem to sit and work for hours.There’s one dissonant note in Ryan’s piece. At one point, he fell into a classic pundit trap: he qualified his defense of the Keystone XL opposition with this “expert” criticism:
Second, Chait is indeed correct that new EPA regulations which phase out coal-fired power plants would have a much larger impact on carbon dioxide emissions than stopping Keystone XL.
Despite the conventional wisdom, a little investigation finds that this claim doesn’t hold water.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s own regulatory filing for the proposed new-plant CO2 standards, “the EPA projects that this proposed rule will result in negligible CO2 emission changes, quantified benefits, and costs by 2022.”
The EPA’s new regulations aren’t expected to have any significant impact on CO2 pollution because new coal plants aren’t economically competitive with other forms of electricity generation (or efficiency efforts) in the United States. By contrast, the Obama administration’s long-delayed limits on traditional pollutants will have a much greater impact on the nation’s coal fleet. The importance of the new-plant CO2 regulations is largely symbolic — an initial stake in the ground that greenhouse gases are pollution that needs to be regulated.
Whereas the EPA CO2 regulations are expected to have a negligible impact, the Keystone XL pipeline, if constructed, will have an annual carbon footprint of 120-200 million tons of CO2 from operating plus its tar-sands crude output. Thus, the pipeline’s impact would be equivalent to the ten biggest existing coal-fired power plants in the US (179 million tons of CO2 per year), or the equivalent of about 40 average US coal plants.
So Ryan is right that mobilizing to stop Keystone XL makes sense politically. It also makes sense policywise.
Update: Ryan Cooper responds on Twitter: “I agree that KXL is worth stopping, but in there I meant to refer to potential regulations that would apply to existing plants.”
The Obama administration has just held a series of “public listening sessions” about possible regulation of existing power plants, but has made no proposals.
CNBC host Joe Kernen marked the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy by questioning the wisdom of investing to protect utility customers from extreme weather. In an interview with Steve Holliday, the CEO of utility company National Grid, Kernen cited Bjorn Lomborg’s recent global warming denial op-ed in the Washington Post, “Don’t Blame Climate Change for Extreme Weather.”
Kernen’s repeated dismissal of global warming and attacks on climate scientists and activists as the “eco-taliban” have spurred a 45,000-signature petition drive organized by climate accountability group Forecast the Facts.
Reading from Lomborg’s op-ed, Kernen rebuked Holliday for investing in resilience to damages from extreme weather, which have been rapidly rising. In particular, both extreme precipitation and sea level are increasing in the Northeast, both due to fossil-fueled global warming.
Kernen claimed that his dismissal of the well-known connection between global warming and extreme weather was backed by prominent climate scientist Gavin Schmidt, of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
Hill Heat contacted Dr. Schmidt about Kernen’s use of his words, which he called a “red herring.”
“My statement in no way implies that no extremes are changing,” Dr. Schmidt retorted, “and certainly not that electricity companies shouldn’t invest in increased resilience, which, as Holliday rightly notes, is prudent regardless.”
How did Kernen’s confabulation come to pass?About a month ago, E&E News interviewed Dr. Schmidt about a paper that found that increases in weather extremes are concentrated in North America and Europe:
The study noted that the greatest recent year-to-year changes have occurred in much of North America and Europe, something confirmed by a separate study last year. The result, according to several scientists, is a misperception across the West that the weather extremes occurring there are occurring everywhere. . . . “General statements about extremes are almost nowhere to be found in the literature but seem to abound in the popular media,” Schmidt said. “It’s this popular perception that global warming means all extremes have to increase all the time, even though if anyone thinks about that for 10 seconds they realize that’s nonsense.”Lomborg then misleadingly contrasted Dr. Schmidt’s quotation with comments from President Obama:
President Obama has explicitly linked a warming climate to “more extreme droughts, floods, wildfires and hurricanes.” The White House warned this summer of “increasingly frequent and severe extreme weather events that come with climate change.” Yet this is not supported by science. “General statements about extremes are almost nowhere to be found in the literature but seem to abound in the popular media,” climate scientist Gavin Schmidt of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies said last month. “It’s this popular perception that global warming means all extremes have to increase all the time, even though if anyone thinks about that for 10 seconds they realize that’s nonsense.”Kernen then used Lomborg’s article to argue that climate change has no influence on extreme weather:
I’m looking at a Washington Post piece, Steve. It’s the Washington Post. “Don’t blame climate change for extreme weather.” It goes on to say that in popular — um — well, you see that is in the popular media, but the science does not support it at all. . . . Gavin Schmidt of NASA Goddard Institute: “General statements about extremes are almost nowhere to be found in actual scientific literature but abound in popular media. It’s a popular perception that global warming means that all extremes have increased although anyone who thinks about that for ten seconds realizes is nonsense.”
Kernen’s comments ironically appeared with the chyron “SUPERSTORM SANDY: LESSONS LEARNED.”
KERNEN: I’m looking at a Washington Post piece, Steve. It’s the Washington Post. “Don’t blame climate change for extreme weather.” It goes on to say that in popular — um — well, you see that is in the popular media, but the science does not support it at all. He’s quoting people from — you’re just — is it a given for you now that climate change is—you’re taking corporate actions based on more extreme weather based on climate change?
HOLLIDAY: I would not get into the scientific debate — I’m not qualified to do that.
KERNEN: But you used to work at Exxon. You used to be in the hydrocarbon industry. You caused all this global warming at some point, didn’t you, when you worked for Exxon? Now you’re preparing for that. You’re getting it coming and going, Steve.
HOLLIDAY: Let’s put the science just to one side. It is crystal clear to me in my company that we have to prepare to protect our customers with their energy supplies, with the expectation that we’re going to have more storms, more frequently, of higher intensity.
HOLLIDAY: That would be the prudent and sensible thing to do. What’s causing those storms is slightly, in this discussion, irrelevant. They are clearly here, and we need to protect against them. So that’s why we’re making investments we’re making. We’re making $2 billion of investment of hardening our systems, replacing old infrastructure in the US this year. That’s crucial to make sure that we have the reliability of energy supplies we need.
KERNEN: Gavin Schmidt of NASA Goddard Institute: “General statements about extremes are almost nowhere to be found in actual scientific literature but abound in popular media. It’s a popular perception that global warming means that all extremes have increased although anyone who thinks about that for ten seconds realizes is nonsense.” Anyway, we appreciate it. I don’t want you to be doing all this stuff for your company if it’s not necessary.
At a Sandy anniversary panel organized by Forecast the Facts, Center for American Progress senior fellow Bracken Hendricks described how society needs to not only divest from climate-polluting fossil fuels but also invest in a sustainable, equitable future.
“The fight against the bad stuff and pulling that money back has to happen. I want to really drive home a second piece of this: We need to know what we want. Because it’s not enough to know what we don’t want. And we need to get very busy building it, and we need to demand it.”
“Demand that people focus on the pain and demand that people focus on what we need instead.”
“We need to be smart enough and insistent enough to demand a vision of a future we want to live in. It’s not enough to oppose what we know is going to hurt us.”
“The anniversary of Sandy in lower Manhattan is really a time to look at Wall Street, and how we can come together as people and have our collective voice be strong enough to make a difference in the face of very large pools of capital that, without us, are going to make a very grave mistake.”
Bracken Hendricks (@HendricksB) is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and works at the interface of global warming solutions and economic development. Hendricks was an architect of clean-energy portions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. He was founding executive director of the Apollo Alliance and has served as an energy and economic advisor to the AFL-CIO, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell’s Energy Advisory Task Force, and numerous other federal, state, and local policymakers and elected officials.
The Forecast the Facts forum, “Turning the Tide: The Challenge And Promise Of Carbon Divestment for a Post-Sandy Wall Street,” took place on Sunday, October 29, at Cooper Union’s Rose Auditorium in New York City, with panelists from the Center for American Progress, Next Generation, and NYU Divest.
At a Sandy anniversary panel organized by Forecast the Facts, climate and economic expert James Slezak says that investors should recognize that the fossil-fuel industry will go the way of the horse-and-buggy. Oil and coal companies, Dr. Slezak said, are “bad investments” that “don’t have the right capabilities or the right assets” to become renewable energy companies. Therefore, these companies should “liquidated” and their assets “wound up.”
One dangerous myth is that the BPs, the Exxons, the coal interests of the world are just energy companies and we just need to let them see why really, the future of energy is in renewables and they should be the renewable energy companies of the future. Don’t get me wrong, renewable energy is the future and needs to be quickly what replaces those companies. But I don’t think those companies are going to be the renewable energy companies of the future.
When you look at what these companies actually do, with a business hat on, and say I’m going to place a bet on the future on who’s going to win the race — Take solar for example. It’s a high-tech semiconductor industry. It’s not what dudes with hard hats on in the middle of the North Sea are good at, and it’s not where you would expect money to go.
We have to be a little bit harder on them. And make it clear why they’re such bad investments. They’re not going to win the race to develop solar. They don’t have the right capabilities, the right assets. They need to be wound up. They need to be liquidated. Their assets need to be wound up.
That sounds like a crazy, radical point of view, but you can look at multiple industries that the market just naturally wound up. The horse and buggy. New York’s streets were first lit with whale oil. True fact. Look it up. No one lamented those industries going. The typewriter industry wasn’t the industry that became the computer industry. These guys are going to go. The sooner the better, I think. And we don’t want to give them an escape route.
James Slezak (@jslez) is a social entrepreneur, author, and co-founder of Peers.org, a member-driven organization to support the sharing economy. He was previously a founding executive team member and partner at Purpose.com, and consultant at McKinsey & Company, where he led projects on sustainability, technology and economic development. He is co-author of the book Climate Change and Australia, as well as public reports on the economics of carbon emissions reduction released by McKinsey. James holds a PhD in Physics and was an affiliate at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
The Forecast the Facts forum, “Turning the Tide: The Challenge And Promise Of Carbon Divestment for a Post-Sandy Wall Street,” took place on Sunday, October 29, at Cooper Union’s Rose Auditorium in New York City, with panelists from the Center for American Progress, Next Generation, and NYU Divest.
It is one year since Hurricane Sandy ravaged the east coast. The mainstream media continues to use the storm to push a global warming agenda.
Varney’s guest, the conservative Media Research Center’s Dan Gainor, complained that of the 32 segments in network news his group found that mentioned Sandy and global warming, only two questioned the overwhelming science that the increasing greenhouse effect from the combustion of fossil fuels is accelerating sea level rise and making weather more extreme and chaotic. Despite numerous scientific attribution studies on wildfires, heat waves, droughts, and storms that have found global warming fingerprints, Gainor falsely claimed that “we cannot link climate change or global warming to a specific event.” He furthermore dismissed the decades of work by thousands of scientists in all earth-science disciplines that provide our understanding of climate change as “stuff” and “guesswork.”
Gainor did not emphasize that his organization found only 32 mentions of climate change and Sandy in an entire year of network news coverage. (In contrast, for example, there were 52 segments on Iran’s nuclear program in five months of network news coverage from November 2011 to March 2012.)
Climate denial is rampant in the financial press, not just the media organs owned by Murdoch like Fox and the Wall Street Journal. Forbes regularly publishes climate-denial columns, and Reuters editors are openly hostile to climate science. And Comcast’s CNBC features hosts such as Joe Kernen, who argues that the findings of climate science are a plot concocted by a “bonafide cult” of “enviro-socialists” and the “eco-taliban.”
Varney and Gainor also bemoaned the public stand the Los Angeles Times has taken against global warming denial in its opinion pages. Over 25,000 people have signed a petition from climate accountability organization Forecast the Facts calling on the nation’s other major papers, including the New York Times, USA Today, and the Washington Post, to follow suit.
On Sunday, Forecast the Facts hosted a forum held in downtown New York City looking at the role of Wall Street in financing the climate change that threatens New York’s future prosperity. The panelists of the Turning the Tide forum, including Center for American Progress senior fellow Bracken Hendricks, Tom Steyer advisor Kate Gordon, and New Economy Lab’s James Slezak, discussed how the financial industry needs to reject the anti-scientific arguments pushed by Murdoch’s media properties and David H. Koch’s network of think tanks and advocacy groups.
Gordon cited the Risky Business initative, led by Steyer, Michael Bloomberg, and former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. The initiative, Gordon explained, is meant not only to provide an economic assessment of the risk exposure different companies and industries have to manmade global warming, but also to change the culture of the financial sector. With that goal in mind, influential Republicans and conservatives who accept the basic science of climate change have been courted.
Wall Street is at a crossroads, all the panelists agreed. On the path of fossil-fuel companies and climate deniers like New York City’s richest man, carbon financier David H. Koch, lies accelerating sea level rise and intensifying storms that will swamp the islands of New York City. But the investors and analysts can choose another path, recognize the science, and invest in a sustainable future that will save their city.
Fox Business Network Transcript:
VARNEY: It is one year since Hurricane Sandy ravaged the east coast. The mainstream media continues to use the storm to push a global warming agenda. Dan Gainor from the Media Research Center is here. He’s done the study. Dan, I think first of all you have some numbers on the stories run by the broadcast networks on Sandy. Go.
GAINOR: A year after we have seen all of this devastation, what we find is that every single time in the stories where they talk about Sandy and global warming or climate change, they are linking the two. Yet we have seen experts for years telling us that we cannot link climate change or global warming to a specific event. It is okay when they do it.
VARNEY: Hold on. Wait a second. Was there any counter opinion offered on the story? You looked at 32 stories. 100 percent of them linked climate change to Hurricane Sandy. Did anyone come on and say, hold on a second, hold on a second, it is not that clear-cut, there’s another point of view? Did anybody?
GAINOR: No. They did not have anyone on. and in only two of the stories, 6 percent of the time, that they even had the most casual mention. That is the extent. They never had anyone on who would disagree, and there are a lot of people who disagree, obviously.
VARNEY: I want you to listen to what the Los Angeles Times said, an editorial, I think it’s from the editor of Los Angeles Times: “Simply put I do my best to keep errors of fact of the letters page.” Saying, “There is no sign humans have caused climate change is not stating in opinion, it’s asserting a factual inaccuracy.” The L.A. Times will no longer accept letters from global warming skeptics. What do you say to that, Dan?
GAINOR: It is more media censorship. At least they are honest about it, they’re honest that they will not let anybody have a counter opinion. All of this stuff is based on predictions. The predictions thus far have been consistently wrong. And yet they’re saying, “We’ve been wrong, we are wrong, we are wrong. But next time down the road, then you can expect we will be right.” They’re expecting anywhere from one to 3% of world GDP to be spent on climate change. They’re doing it based on guesswork.