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Saturday, February 28, 2015
What happened to the lobbyists who tried to reshape the US view of climate change?
In 1998 major fossil fuel companies put $2m behind a plan that would effectively fuel the fires of climate science scepticism among the American public. We reveal where the 12 people behind that plan are now
This January 16, 2015, file photo shows pumpjacks operating at the Kern River Oil Field in Bakersfield, California. Photograph: Jae C. Hong/APby Graham Readfearn, The Guardian, February 27, 2015
Then: Ebell was a policy director at Frontiers of Freedom working on property rights, the Endangered Species Act, federal lands policies and global warming.
Now: Ebell is the director of energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and continues to be a prominent global warming sceptic, appearing as a pundit on US television networks and writing media columns. In December 2014 Ebell reportedly claimed delegates from poorer nations were motivated to attend UN climate talks for the daily payments and the chance to take their wives to nice locations.
Emails to Ebell and the CEI went unanswered.
Then: Former journalist John Adams was the founder of John Adams Associates, a Washington-based public relations firm. In the early 1970s, Adams was public affairs director in president Richard Nixon’s price commission. According to his archived company profile, Adams also worked as a documentary writer and news producer at CBC and ABC and had worked with legendary broadcaster Walter Cronkite. In 2008, Adams’ firm merged with Kellen Company.
John Adams died in December 2012.
Then: Salmon was executive director at the George C Marshall Institute think tank, serving there between 1991 and 2001. Before joining the institute, Salmon had been a senior speechwriter for Dick Cheney during his tenure as defense secretary.
Now: Three years after being part of the GCSC team, Salmon joined the US Department of Energy. He is currently deputy director of resource management in the department.
Emails to the department for the attention of Salmon went unanswered.
Then: Garrigan was affiliated with the Environmental Issues Council. The now defunct EIC was formed in 1993 by a number of trade associations “who saw the need to explore common sense solutions to widely-debated environmental problems.”
Those associations included the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, American Pulpwood Association and the Independent Petroleum Association of America.
Now: Garrigan went on to work at the Environmental Council of the States, a “non-partisan association of state and territorial environmental agency leaders.” Ms Garrigan no longer works at ECOS.
The Guardian contacted Garrigan but she declined to comment on the record. The Guardian understands her role in the plan was minimal.
Then: Joe Walker was a public relations consultant working on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute. Walker had a co-ordinating role with the group.
Now: Walker went on to establish his own public relations consultancy, with clients from the chemical and plastics industries. These included the American Chemistry Council, the Chlorine Institute and the Formaldehyde Council. A blog post written by Walker in November 2014 suggests he continues to work in public relations.
Emails to Walker asking about his role in the GCSC plan went unanswered.
Then: Kneiss was federal relations manager for oil and gas company Chevron Corp. In 1999, Kneiss represented Chevron at a Washington business meeting to discuss the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism, where she was discussing how Chevron was hopeful that a West African gas pipeline project may qualify for carbon reduction credits. Kneiss also represented Chevron at that year’s major UN climate conference in Bonn, Germany.
Now: Kneiss is now the President and CEO of the National Waste and Recycling Association (NWRA), after stints at the American Chemistry Council, American Forest and Paper Association and American Petroleum Institute.
The NWRA’s climate change web page says there has been “a significant increase in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases” in the last two decades, and that: “Scientific consensus is clear: these emissions are making the earth warmer in an unusually fast time period.”
Kneiss told The Guardian: “At the time, I worked for Chevron and we took a constructive approach to the climate issue. While the debate on climate continued, we looked at viable opportunities to mitigate any impacts.”
She said Chevron had worked with developing country representatives and sponsored workshops to discuss carbon reduction schemes.
She added: “I attended the first meeting that Joe Walker called concerning the development of his plan. We chose not to participate with that effort.”
Then: A year earlier in March 1997, Milloy became the executive director of the tobacco-industry front group The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition.
Now: Milloy has continued to describe the science linking fossil fuel emissions and climate change as “junk.” Milloy is now the director of external policy and strategy at Murray Energy Corporation, the largest privately-held coal company in the US. In a speech last year, Milloy said US energy policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power stations were based on “eco myths and junk science.”
Emails to Milloy and Murray Energy went unanswered. The Guardian received a response to the email addressed to Mr Milloy from Lord Christopher Monckton, a prominent climate science sceptic, who said it was “untrue” and “statistically meaningless” to claim the 15 hottest years on record had occurred from 1998 onwards.
Then: Bouchey, also known as L Francis Bouchey, was the director of a project known as Citizens for Sound Science and the Environment, based at the think tank Frontiers of Freedom. The think tank was founded by former Republican senator Malcolm Wallop. At the time the project was attacking the UN Kyoto climate treaty and casting doubt on the risks of human-caused climate change.
Now: In 2001, Sourcewatch reports that Bouchey, Wallop and Frontiers of Freedom ran an “eco-terrorism” propaganda campaign against Rainforest Action Network (RAN), Greenpeace and other groups, eventually petitioning the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to revoke RAN’s non-profit tax status.
In 2004 Bouchey joined oil company Shell where, according to his LinkedIn profile, he worked in “government relations and community relations.” US government lobby registers show Bouchey listed as a lobbyist for Shell between 2005 and 2007. Bouchey’s online profile says he is retired.
The Guardian was unable to locate contact details for Bouchey.
Then: Cleary was the communications manager at Americans for Tax Reform, a think tank founded by influential conservative Grover Norquist.
Now: In October 2000 Cleary joined the trade group Grocery Manufacturers of America (now renamed the Grocery Manufacturers Association) as manager, public policy communications.
In 2003 Cleary was named deputy director of the American Conservative Union with a role to organise the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) conference. The Guardian was unable to find further information about Mr Cleary or make contact with him.
Then: Randol was the senior environmental advisor for Exxon Corporation, based in Washington, DC. Randol, also known as Arthur G Randol III, had worked for the corporation since 1979.
Now: Randol is now listed as the president of the American Energy Freedom Center.
In 2001, Randol lobbied the Bush administration to pressure the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to replace its chair Robert Watson, who Randol said had a “personal agenda.” Randol also recommended the Bush administration replace “Clinton/Gore carry-overs” who had “aggressive agendas” with sceptical scientists Richard Lindzen and John Christy. Randol retired from Exxon in 2003. He still works as an advisor in the energy industry.
He has contributed to reports on energy policy for the National Coal Council and Business Roundtable. He represents Peabody Energy on the Southern States Energy Board and is an advisor to oil and gas developer Green Century Resources. In January 2015, Randol was reportedly acting as a consultant for the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation speaking against a president Obama plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power stations.
Emails to Randol went unanswered.
•There was a 13th person identified in the pages of the leaked memo, but they later said they had been incorrectly identified.