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The following is cross posted from Scaling Green, which I edit. The article was written by Denise Robbins of clean energy public relations firm Tigercomm and cross-posted with her permission.

As clean energy technology continues to advance, the fossil fuel industry is getting desperate to preserve its prominence in the energy sector.  Fossil fuel executives and front-groups have been spending more money than ever on pro-fossil fuel ad campaigns and doing what they can to debunk climate change science. The latest – and possibly most outrageous – example of this is the fake “Addendum” to a climate change impact assessment, soon to be released by the libertarian think-tank Cato Institute.

In 2009, the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), a government agency charged with assessing climate science, issued a report titled “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States.” Now, three years later, the Cato Institute is set to release a report titled, "Addendum: Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States,” which appears to be an extension of the 2009 report.

Though called an “Addendum,” The Cato Institute’s report is in no way affiliated with the real scientific report. When I asked for comment, USGCRP report co-author Benjamin Santer noted, “The fact that they employ such deception is telling. Clearly, even Dr. Michaels et al. understand that their ‘Addendum’ cannot stand on its own scientific merits.” If not to confuse readers, the Cato Institute is relying solely on the appearance of the real report for undeserved credibility.

Perhaps the most galling part of the counterfeit report comes at its conclusion. The Cato counterfeit claims that the experts of the USGCRP “have economic incentives to paint climate change as a dire problem requiring their services.”

But who really has the economic incentive here?

The Cato Institute was founded by Charles Koch.  His brother, David, is on Cato’s board of directors. The Koch brothers run Koch Industries, whose $62 billion fortune derives from fossil fuel production industries. The Kochs have an immense economic stake in whether or not climate change legislation is passed. Meanwhile, the USGCRP scientists wrote their assessment entirely pro-bono.

This was not the first time, nor will it be the last, that the fossil fuel industry has spent money to attempt to debunk climate change and debase the importance of clean energy. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on pro-fossil fuel ads in this election cycle alone. And Patrick Michaels, the head author of the Cato report, has a history of receiving money from the fossil fuel industry. He received a $63,000 in the early 1990s from the Western Fuels Association for “research on global climactic change,” and several other grants from fossil fuel companies. Furthermore, around the time An Inconvenient Truth was released, the coal industry planned a huge climate-denial campaign, giving at least $100,000 to Michaels himself.

If a member of Congress gets handed this “Addendum” to scientific report, what will they think? Will they take it for science, or for counterfeit?  The Cato report – which copies the real report so closely it might be called plagiarism – was created to confuse its readers and to foster climate skepticism. This in turn might prevent the House from passing climate bills that would bolster incentives for clean energy.

Clean energy is rapidly catching up to the dirty energy of the past, and its opponents are doing anything they can to slow down the progress of cleaner, domestic energy sources. Once again, they have resorted to dishonest tactics and science denial. The Cato counterfeit is just another desperate attempt to allow dirty energy to keep burning at ever-increasing rates, and to prevent the country from moving forward.

As the clean energy industry expands, there will continue to be attacks from the fossil fuel industry. A report of such desperation and deceit as the Cato “Addendum” is only a testament to the strength of clean energy. But once it’s known where the attacks are coming from, they can be used benefit the clean energy industry. The attacks can be countered with truth, not fraud.

*Summary table comparing the reports

Government Report Cato Institute “Addendum”
Climate   change is real and caused by human activities Climate   change is real and caused by human activities
Climate   change is a threat to our livelihood There is no   threat from climate change – it may even be beneficial to the economy
A compact   assessment of current climate science Cherry-picked   science figures: Include more citations overall, but smaller subsets for many   data points
Includes a   section for proposed action in climate science Does not   include such a section, calling it “prescriptive”
The economy   will be challenged by climate change The economy   will suffer only if we enact climate policies – otherwise it will adapt
60-day public comment and peer review No public comment or peer review
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Comment Preferences

  •  libertarians (4+ / 0-)

    Don't ever let them get away with pretending they're more thoughtful conservatives.  If libertarianism was rational, they wouldn't spend so much time preventing action on cliamte change.  I suppose it's some kind of mild progress that this report apparently admits climate change is both real and caused by humans, but then they retreat to the usual third line of denial defence:  but it won't be that bad!

    Just another flavour of denialism.  The same science that tells us it is real and we are the cause also tells us it will be very bad for us.

  •  Well... (4+ / 0-)

    there's: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

    then there's: If you can't beat 'em, pretend to join 'em then keep workin' to beat 'em that way....

    Looks like the oil industry is moving on to Plan B.

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 05:26:57 PM PST

  •  Where does this news fit in here? (0+ / 0-)


    It mentions transportation energy efficiency as one factor in a predicted approach to energy independence.

    It also mentions predictions that electricity prices will decline by half due to the increased use of fracked natural gas creating a glut of low priced gas.

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 07:15:53 PM PST

    •  It confirms what the diary said. (0+ / 0-)
      Where does this news fit in here?
      The linked news says that there's lots of fossil fuels out there, which humanity can't afford to burn because that will push global warming out of control.  Here's an important paragraph from the link:  
      But the message is more sobering for the planet, in terms of climate change. Although natural gas is frequently promoted for being relatively low in carbon emissions compared to oil or coal, the new global energy market could make it harder to prevent dangerous levels of warming.
      And another:
      The report warns that no more than one-third of the proved reserves of fossil fuels should be used by 2050 to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, as many scientists recommend.
      And last but not least:
      “The report confirms that, given the current policies, we will blow past every safe target for emissions,” Mr. Levi said. “This should put to rest the idea that the boom in natural gas will save us from that.”

      Renewable energy brings national global security.     

      by Calamity Jean on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:45:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was wondering about the (0+ / 0-)

        part that says the natural gas glut will make electricity prices drop by 50% once it goes a long way to replace coal used for that purpose. Won't that make things more difficult when it comes to the price competition between gas vs wind and solar?

        I've read in a lot of places that one of the things that will drive conversion to those two sources will be their price competitiveness. Now perhaps that will be put off for a time, maybe quite a long time?

        Also it doesn't seem like the industry would be all that desperate unless the politics of the times starts recognizing the urgency of the climate change problem than it seems to be doing right now. "Serious" (lol) politicians hardly mention it much anymore. If people can be bought off with a plentiful and cheap energy source as well, I would think the industry would feel pretty secure.

        Moderation in most things.

        by billmosby on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 07:30:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That could be a problem. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ... the natural gas glut will make electricity prices drop by 50% once it goes a long way to replace coal used for that purpose. Won't that make things more difficult when it comes to the price competition between gas vs wind and solar?
          However, there is some indication that "fracked" gas wells tend to become depleted much faster than conventional wells.  The natural gas glut may not last long.  If it doesn't, electric utilities that have retired coal-burning power plants will be pushed toward renewables by a jump in the gas price.  They won't be able to go back to coal because coal plants are more expensive to build than wind turbines are.  

          Elimination of tax and other subsidies for fossil fuels would help the changeover also.  

          Renewable energy brings national global security.     

          by Calamity Jean on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 11:06:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  We have to point the finger at the liars (0+ / 0-)

    I don’t think most liberal people have the stomach for it, but I yearn to see a broad majority of the media and the public start telling the liars that they are immoral, ignorant and irrelevant. I’d like climate catastrophes like hurricane Sandy and the droughts across the US to be seen as powered by fossil fuel overload in the atmosphere and as a surcharge on the price of gas, like Lance Armstrong’s extra power came from steroids, or whatever it was he took.

    Then we can start to confront the reality that we’re going to have to drastically reduce consumption of CO2, and only then will be have credibility to say that around the world. The implications are huge, including much less travel, far fewer babies, no more wars, much more cooperation with the UN, and less conspicuous consumption of all kinds. This will be a very hard sell for most people, but it’s impossible to have any consensus or begin any coordinated response until we can clear away the confusion caused by the organized liars.

    I don’t want to preach to people who generally already get it, or who don’t know they’re being lied to. I want to go to the top of the corporate hierarchy and deconstruct their greedy ideology and their methods of subverting our democracy and our ability to understand how the economic engines they own and operate are fouling our planet. We have the means to inform the public and a lot of excellent spokespeople, but we are being shouted down by every pro-coal and Exxon or BP commercial on TV, and by every lobbyist for the industry who takes a congress critter out to lunch.

    The insane idea of digging up coal to ship to China to burn to make stuff is totally based on these lies. We have to go after the pushers who dominate our economy, and not try so hard to convince the addicts to stop using.

    Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge. -Carl Sagan

    by howardfromUSA on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 10:59:46 PM PST

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