ALEC's Long War on Climate Science and Climate Policy
“Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring, non-toxic and beneficial gas, and it poses no direct threat to public health. In order to justify regulation, the EPA is relying on an uncertain assumption that increased carbon dioxide emissions by humans are causing an unprecedented global temperature increase and an uncertain assumption that the temperature increase will result in worldwide catastrophe in 50 to 100 years.”
“The (ALEC) Resolution in Opposition to Regulation Greenhouse Gases under the Clean Air Act states that regardless of one’s views on global climate change science, the efforts of one developed nation would not have a meaningful effect on global temperatures”
ALEC Named in Leaked 1998 American Petroleum Institute Climate Science Denial Plan
Exxon Funding ALEC on Climate
Source: ExxonMobil 2003 Worldwide Giving Report
2004 - $62,000 from ExxonMobil Foundation for "Energy and Climate Change"
Source: ExxonMobil 2004 Worldwide Giving Report
2004 - $75,000 from ExxonMobil Foundation for "Climate Change"
Source: ExxonMobil 2004 Worldwide Giving Report
2005 - $151,500 ExxonMobil Foundation (discrepancy in reporting). The 2005 ExxonMobil Worldwide Giving Report lists $151,000 broken down for "Energy Sustainability Project" ($80,000) and "General Operating Support" ($71,500).
ALEC's Climate Attacks Started Long Ago
“During 1998 and 1999, 16 states passed legislation or resolutions that were highly critical of the Protocol and opposed ratification by the U.S. Senate. Many of these were purely advisory and employed similar language from state to state. Some states, however, chose to go further and block any unilateral steps to reduce greenhouse gases. Michigan, for example, amended its Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act in 1999 to prevent state agencies from proposing or promulgating any rule to reduce greenhouse gases unless it had been requested by the legislature. No such requests have been forthcoming and the state has also shied away from pursuing federal grants for preliminary study of the issue. In West Virginia, legislation passed in 1998, prevented state agencies from entering into any agreements with any federal agencies intended to reduce the state’s GHG emissions.”
ALEC vs. the Sons of Kyoto
Why is this history relevant?
NRDC's Aliya Haq writes: "Most state legislatures are only a few weeks into their 2014 sessions, yet ALEC legislators have already introduced a dozen anti-EPA bills and resolutions across the country, including in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Ohio, Kansas, Missouri,Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia."
In recent years, ALEC has attacked climate science and policy in a variety of ways:
- ALEC hosted a session by prominent climate denier, Craig Idso, at its 2011 annual meeting for legislators teaching the"Many Benefits of Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment"
"Idso is founder and former chair of the ExxonMobil-funded Center for Study of Carbon Dioxide and Climate Change, and informed legislators that “CO2 is definitely not a pollutant.” He spoke glowingly of the “CO2-enriched world of the future” and provided a series of graphs and data that, when viewed in isolation, might appear legitimate."
- ALEC distributed model bills in 2010 designed to kill regional climate pacts like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in New England and mid Atlantic.
From Greenpeace PolluterWatch:
"This strategy was confirmed in September 2010 by conservative activist Clint Woods of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), who said RGGI and other regional cap-and-trade regimes have become the “new battlefield” since federal climate legislation was derailed. ALEC, which has created template legislation for state lawmakers to use as a way to back out of regional climate accords."
- ALEC has pushed bills that would require teaching 'both sides' of climate science in schools since 2008.
"January hasn't even ended, yet ALEC has already planted its "Environmental Literacy Improvement Act" - which mandates a "balanced" teaching of climate science in K-12 classrooms - in the state legislatures of Oklahoma, Colorado, and Arizona so far this year."
- ALEC attacks state renewable energy standards
From the Guardian:
"Over the coming year, the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec) will promote legislation with goals ranging from penalising individual homeowners and weakening state clean energy regulations, to blocking the Environmental Protection Agency, which is Barack Obama's main channel for climate action. Details of Alec's strategy to block clean energy development at every stage – from the individual rooftop to the White House – are revealed as the group gathers for its policy summit in Washington this week."
- ALEC attacks net-metering (paying back people who produce solar electricity and put it into the grid)
"The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) recently released a model resolution calling for the weakening of solar net metering policies that threaten the traditional utility industry business model. ALEC is one front group that the utility industry is using to push for changes to net metering policies—a valuable ally for the utilities to lobby state legislators from across the country. Duke Energy is a member of ALEC."
- ALEC continues to attack EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gases from powerplants
"InsideEPA gained access to parts of the meeting, including the special ALEC workshop on EPA power-plant standards. Peter Glaser, a Washington, D.C. lawyer representing electric utilities, coal producers and other large, corporate energy clients, encouraged state lawmakers and industry members to engage in "guerrilla warfare" against EPA to weaken carbon-pollution standards on power plants."