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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Kert Davies, CIC: 2014 CPAC Climate Panel Stacked with Serial Deniers

by  March 6, 2014 
Today at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference being held just outside Washington, DC, there was a panel on climate whose speakers collectively have been Dealing in Doubt for probably 75 years.  The panel included Joe Bast of Heartland Institute, Steve Milloy of Murray Coal, Marc Morano of CFACT, Marlo Lewis of CEI and George Landrith of Frontiers of Freedom
Brendan Demelle of DeSmogBlog writes today about this cast of deniers, focusing on Steve Milloy, long time climate denier and tobacco and pesticide defender.  This panel was a coming out party for Milloy's recent (~October 2013) employment by Murray Coal.  Milloy is listed as "Director of External Policy & Strategy" for Murray Energy Corp.   We have never seen this before.
What makes this CPAC panel really interesting is all the connections to an infamous leaked 1998 American Petroleum Institute memo.
From DeSmogBlog:
"Milloy, an infamous tobacco- and chemical industry-funded PR flack, was an author of the 1998 American Petroleum Institute “communications plan” to attack science and undermine international action on climate change. Written in conjunction with many right wing think tanks and fossil fuel companies including ExxonMobil, Chevron and Southern Company, the industry’s goal was to launch "a national media relations program to inform the media about uncertainties in climate science."
The 1998 API memo noted the “current reality” the industry faced:
"Unless 'climate change' becomes a non-issue, meaning that the Kyoto proposal is defeated and there are no further initiatives to thwart the threat of climate change, there may be no moment when we can declare victory for our efforts."
Three of the groups represented on the 2014 CPAC global warming panel were listed on the 1998 plan as possible channels to deploy the industry money to attack climate science, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), Competitive Enterprise Institute and Frontiers of Freedom."

API 1998 = CPAC 2014

Maybe we are obsessing, but there are more connections members of API Global Climate Science Communications Team (GCSCT) and today's CPAC climate denial panel:  
  • Steve Milloy, was a member of the GCSCT representing The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition
  • David Rothbard, President of CFACT was an GCSCT member. CPAC panelist Marc Morano now works at CFACT.
  • Myron Ebell was on the GCSCT for Frontiers of Freedom. Myron is now at Competitive Enterprise Institute and works closely with CPAC panelist Marlo Lewis
  • George Landrith, President of Frontiers of Freedom is on the CPAC panel.  Two Frontiers of Freedom employees were on the GCSCT: Ebell and Lynn Bouchey. 

CPAC Panel Too Extreme for Exxon

Maybe the best indicator of how extreme the CPAC panel today is that ExxonMobil (who we assume went ahead with funding the leaked 1998 API plan) dropped funding to all the front groups on the CPAC panel years ago because their climate denial positions had become too extreme.  In Exxon's words, the dropped funding to groups "whose position on climate change could divert attention from the important discussion" about the world's energy future. Hmmm.  Exxon isn't off the hook, but what does that say about today's panelists?
  • Exxon cut funding to Milloy's Free Enterprise Education Institute in 2005
  • CEI: Exxon funding cut in 2006,
  • Frontiers of Freedom: cut by Exxon in 2006
  • Heartland Institute: cut in 2007
  • CFACT: cut in 2008

Milloy, Horner & Norquist?

Milloy could also have listed his title for CPAC as Senior Policy Fellow at Energy and Environment Legal Institute which just moved into new DC offices on 12th Street that they apparently share with Grover Norquist's Americans For Tax Reform.  This EELI is the new incarnation of the Chris Horner and David Schnare's front group American Tradition Institute.  The Milloy connection makes us wonder if Murray is funding this new venture?


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