I wrote once on my bewilderment of the climate change deniers and how there could still be a segment of the population that buys into the nonsense that says human impacted climate change is not real or is of no importance. I concluded that as long as there are those who have a financial interest in fighting legislation that weakens the stranglehold the fossil fuel industry has on power production, there will constantly be a struggle to fend off the very real propaganda campaigns launched by those same individuals. The extent to which the rich and powerful energy barons have gone to discredit competing industries has been something right out of a blockbuster conspiracy movie.
Let me give you an example. The following link is to a page from a group calling itself the Institute for Energy Research. In their article, they try desperately to argue that Wind Power is dirty and expensive. It’s pretty much what environmentalists have been saying about fossil fuels for years. On the surface, one might think that Wind Power is suddenly dangerous and inefficient, but as I’ve written before, it’s important to consider the source of information before buying into it.
The IER is essentially a shill for Big Oil and Big Coal. The CEO, Robert Bradley was the former Director for Policy Analysis for Enron. To say he’s not environmentally friendly might be an understatement. In his book, Climate Alarmism Reconsidered he states that carbon dioxide “is not a pollutant but a building block of a living and vibrant biosphere.” I suppose this is technically true, in that it naturally makes up a percentage of our atmosphere and is necessary for the survival of plant life, but in the context of his argument, he suggests that the alarming increase in the levels of CO2 is nothing about which to be concerned, which is blatantly false.
It is also worthy of note that the IER is partnered with the American Energy Alliance, founded by Thomas Pyle who formerly worked for Congressman Tom Delay as well as the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association and Koch Industries.
The IER is but one of many groups with scientific or neutral sounding names with clearly pro-fossil fuel agendas. The Energy & Environment Legal Institute has been critical of the EPA’s new Clean Power Plan (naturally). According to Sourcewatch, the E&ELI also has ties to Koch Industries as well as Big Coal. Most interestingly, the E&ELI’s predecessor group, the American Trade Institute, was involved in a proposal for a massive campaign to discredit Wind Power.
This proposal included items like:
- Create a national professional Public Relations (PR) campaign to organize communications to targeted audiences to influence national and state energy and environmental policies.
- Cause the targeted audience to change its opinion and action.
- Provide credible counter message to the (wind) industry.
- Disrupt industry message with countermeasures.
- Cause subversion in message of industry so that it effectively becomes so bad no one wants to admit in public they are for it (much like wind has done to coal, by turning green to black and clean to dirty)
- Create some catch phrases of wind energy – e.g. Puff Power, Breeze Energy, etc.
- Develop a list of experts for testimony to government agencies, etc.
- Create a “think-tank” subgroup to produce and disseminate white paper reports and scientific quotes and papers that back up the message.
- Employ a well-known spokesperson with star credibility.
- Youth outreach will create program for public school coordination as well as college coordination. This will include community activity and participation with sponsorships for science fairs, school activity etc. with preset parameters that cause students to steer away from wind because they discover it doesn’t meet the criteria we set up (poster contests, essays, etc.).
[Author’s note: #10, in my opinion is a particularly disgusting maneuver.]
There’s more of course and I encourage everyone to read the article from The Guardian, who obtained the memo and published it.
Behind all of this is the frightening reality that public policy is being crafted by corporations using legislators on both a state and federal level as messengers for corporate interests. In part, this comes from “model bills” generated by the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC. As the website Alecexposed.org explains:
“Through the secretive meetings of the American Legislative Exchange Council, corporate lobbyists and state legislators vote as equals on ‘model bills’ to change our rights that often benefit the corporations’ bottom line at public expense. ALEC is a pay-to-play operation where corporations buy a seat and a vote on ‘task forces’ to advance their legislative wish lists and can get a tax break for donations, effectively passing these lobbying costs on to taxpayers.”
Make no mistake, the fossil fuel industry is not going down without a fight. So the next time you read about how the Clean Power Plan was a mistake, or illegal, or how wind energy is dirty and expensive or how climate change is a farce, you may want to check the source of that argument. Chances are it is coming from a fossil fuel industry front and is subject to serious scrutiny. We live in a world where corporate greed can trump all and billions are spent on pollution propaganda. Be wary.