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Baucus supports a climate bill and knows it will pass Congress, but Senate Finance Committee calls on polluter lobbyists to attack clean energy yet again

By Joe Romm on November 10, 2009 at 10:08 am

"Baucus supports a climate bill and knows it will pass Congress, but Senate Finance Committee calls on polluter lobbyists to attack clean energy yet again"

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Senate Finance Committee

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) knows that his state’s trees are being ravaged by warming-driven pests now and that Montana faces 175% to 400% increase in wildfire burn area if we don’t reverse course sharply and soon on greenhouse gas emissions.  That’s why he supports strong climate action and said last week, “There’s no doubt that this Congress is going to pass climate change legislation.”

Bizarrely, though, his Finance Committee will hold an utterly missable hearing today on the “future of jobs” under clean energy legislation that has a witness list stacked with fossil-fuel-industry-funded polluters and deniers.  Wonk Room has the story, excerpted below:

Appearing before the committee are four industry or conservative lobbyists and one coal-industry union lobbyist, Abraham Breehey. The only economist to testify will be Margo Thorning, a lobbyist for the anti-tax American Council on Capital Formation. Also testifying is Carol Berrigan, a nuclear industry representative, Van Ton-Quinlivan of Pacific Gas & Electric, and American Enterprise Institute fellow Kenneth Green.

Green regularly spouts anti-scientific nonsense like, “We’re back to the average temperatures that prevailed in 1978″¦.  No matter what you’ve been told, the technology to significantly reduce emissions is decades away and extremely costly” “” from a 2008 speech AEI later removed from their website (excerpts here).  Last month, Green weirdly compared EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to Clint Eastwood and carbon polluters to criminals.

One could point out that Berrigan’s organization, the Nuclear Energy Institute, is not satisfied that clean energy legislation will spur nuclear energy through free-market competition, but is demanding massive subsidies and tax breaks as well.

One could point out that ACCF and AEI have received millions of dollars in funding from Exxon Mobil alone, or that Thorning refuses to reveal her methodology and Green has tried to buy climate scientists for $10,000 a pop.

Instead, let’s just note that tomorrow’s testimony will likely rehash the talking points that these witnesses have delivered time and again for the past ten years. Other than Ton-Quinlivan, who is appearing for the first time before Congress, the witnesses are regulars on the Hill, testifying a combined 20 times on climate and energy policy since 2002. Thorning has been the most frequent guest over the years, and this will be Green’s fifth time testifying since June.

Margo Thorning:

Kenneth P. Green

Carol Berrigan:

Abraham Breehey

If the Finance Committee is really trying to learn something new about whether reforming our pollution-based energy infrastructure would create new jobs, one would think they could have put a little more effort in witness selection.

Precisely.

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5 Responses to Baucus supports a climate bill and knows it will pass Congress, but Senate Finance Committee calls on polluter lobbyists to attack clean energy yet again

  1. hermes says:

    In no way is this meant as a defense of Baucus’ actions, but this is undoubtedly a political calculation on his part. He is a Democratic Denator from a conservative state and if he is seen as being in the pocket of environmentalists, then he can kiss reelection goodbye.

    Baucus played the same game with the health care bill and it hasn’t had a negative effect yet. Give it a chance.

  2. SecularAnimist says:

    Just as Baucus and his committee fought to protect the profits of the insurance corporations against the interests of the American people in the health care legislation process, so he is fighting to protect the profits of the fossil fuel and nuclear power corporations against the interests of the American people in the climate/energy legislation process.

    And it’s exactly because Baucus believes that “there’s no doubt that this Congress is going to pass climate change legislation”, that he is working extra hard to make sure that the profits of the fossil fuel and nuclear corporations are protected in any such legislation.

    And why not? That’s exactly what he is paid the big bucks to do.

  3. Ken Green says:

    As I pointed out in a recent post at Master Resources, that quote of yours was simply a typo in an early iteration of a speech that I inadvertently had posted to the AEI website. I had it pulled as it was radically different than the extemporaneous remarks I wound up giving at that planned presentation. What I was going to say was that temperatures were back to the level before 1998, not 1978.

    I know you don’t actually care about the truth, Joe, but you might actually address substantive points I’ve made, rather than a transient typo that made it through onto AEI’s website.

    Ken

    [JR: First off, until you repost the original draft speech, why would anyone believe your story? Lots of people post the drafts of speeches that are quite different from what the actual delivery is. Until you do, it looks like I was right -- that you and AEI removed it because you are afraid to let people see what you really believe.

    And who the heck reads Master Resource [no 's' -- that's another typo]? Other than the disinformation specialists who write for it, that is?

    Why didn’t you send me an email a long time ago? I ain’t hard to find.

    The 1998 stuff is still wrong, of course (see here or here).

    But the following quote is typo-free, no? “No matter what you’ve been told, the technology to significantly reduce emissions is decades away and extremely costly.”

    Any other retractions you want to make that I posted here?

    For the record (links here), the obscure blog Master Resources is essentially a creature of the Institute for Energy Research (IER), which “has received $307,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998” and which is closely allied with a fossil-fuel front group that is it spreading disinformation about Waxman-Markey.

    The editor of Master Resource is senior research fellow at IER. And the person atop the blogger list on the “About” page is our old friend Robert Bradley, CEO and founder of IER, “who previously served as Director of Public Policy Analysis at Enron, where he was a speechwriter for CEO Kenneth Lay,” who was “convicted on fraud and conspiracy charges on May 25, 2006.

    So if you ever want to post something that you can be sure no one will ever see, Master Resource is the place to do it!

    Note: I didn’t read this comment until 5 pm EST (thanks to SecularAnimist). I was out half the day.]

  4. Andy Gunther says:

    Mr. Green, perhaps you can expand for the readers of this site regarding the dataset you are using to determine the return of average temperatures to where they were before 1998, and why this ten-year piece of the global temperature record is relevant to the climate debate presently occurring in Congress?

  5. SecularAnimist says:

    Ken Green wrote: “I know you don’t actually care about the truth, Joe, but you might actually address substantive points I’ve made …”

    BWAH HAH HAH HAH HAH !!!

    “Care about the truth”?
    Ken Green, you are a paid liar.
    You lie — for money.
    It’s really as simple as that.