Americans for Prosperity lies: “Were not arguing the science of climate change”

The latest mantra of the anti-science, pro-pollution extremists is, “We’re not arguing the science of climate change.”  They do this so they can dispute the charge of “denier” to the media, but then they immediately turn around and start arguing the science of climate change.  Brad Johnson rips away the curtain cloaking the Tea Party puppeteers at Americans for Prosperity.

The pollution-funded Americans for Prosperity (AFP) claims not to question the science of global warming, arguing that its massive Astroturfing campaign against climate policy hinges purely on economic arguments. However, footage from the new documentary (Astro)Turf Wars reveals that AFP officials in fact are radical climate science deniers, promoting untenable conspiracy theories to challenge the overwhelming scientific consensus that fossil fuel pollution is dangerously warming the planet.

We’re not arguing the science of climate change,” Steve Lonegan, AFP-New Jersey state director told Taki Oldham, (Astro)Turf Wars’ filmmaker, last year, at an AFP “Hot Air Tour” event challenging climate legislation. “What we’re saying is the price tag put on it is so destructive as to be reckless and irresponsible.” However, when Oldham asked Lonegan about the science, the AFP official launched into a denier tirade:

The science is not finished, the debate is not over, as the left who support this legislation would tell you. It is quite far from over. There is some very doubtful science into whether or not manmade global warming is causing significant climate change, or whether that climate change is bad or not.

Oldham also attended AFP’s annual summit in October 2009, where the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Myron Ebell, also funded by Koch, told AFP members that global warming is “phony”:

First I want to talk about global warming for a minute. Here’s the last 30 years. You’ll see for the last ten years we haven’t had any global warming. I think that shows the models are phony.

Watch it:

Ebell spoke at a panel moderated by AFP’s vice president of policy, Phil Kerpen, which also included radical climate conspiracy theorist Phelim McAleer and Koch front-group lifer Daniel Simmons.

When the Wonk Room noted that numerous Republican candidates who question climate science are also signatories of the AFP “No Climate Tax” pledge, AFP argued that “our pledge has nothing to do with science,” complaining, “Why can’t Think Progress approach this issue with intellectual honesty, instead of distorting our sincere efforts to fight government growth as some sort of scientific position?”

“We’ve strived to encourage an intellectually honest debate on the scientific basis for claims of harm from greenhouse gases,” Koch Industries spokeswoman Melissa Cohlmia claimed in March, 2010.

Lonegan and Ebell’s denial of climate science is, in fact, the default policy position of AFP and Koch Industries:

– “The scientific establishment has dropped the ball. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant,” said Peggy Venable, AFP’s State Director for Texas, in 2009. “On the contrary it makes crops and forests grow faster. We exhale carbon dioxide.”

– AFP’s website flatly claims that the fact that global warming could cause an eventual 7-meter sea level rise is a “falsehood.”

– “Endangerment of public health and welfare is not ‘reasonably anticipated,'” AFP argued in an April 15, 2009 letter challenging the EPA’s endangerment finding.

– Koch Industries’ official position on climate policy explicitly questions the science of manmade global warming, arguing it may be “simply part of the earth’s natural cycle” and claiming that “the past 10 years or so of data” indicate “we have emerged from a warming cycle and are now entering a cooling cycle.”

— Brad Johnson, in a Wonk Room cross-post

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8 Responses to Americans for Prosperity lies: “Were not arguing the science of climate change”

  1. Peter M says:

    These groups obviously employ Orwellian 1984ish tactics

    and Americans buy much of the lies and misinformation they spread so effectively- the question is how long will it take for the tables be turned on these vampires?

  2. Alteredstory says:

    You can look at their behavior too – if they weren’t debating the science, they’d realize just how bad the situation is, and they’d be as willing to ignore their present “objections” as they are to ignore any objections to things like the Iraq war.

  3. Mike Roddy says:

    These guys are really sickening, and lie reflexively. The media needs to shine a light on all of them.

  4. Jeff Huggins says:


    The problem here is the same one that you encounter when playing Whack-A-Mole at the carnival.

    It’s a silly problem but a very real one. Although it’s necessary to play it with these folks — to refute their unscientific arguments, then to refute their economic arguments, then to refute their ethical arguments, and so on, around and around — it’s not sufficient. In other words, it helps to keep shining light on their bad arguments, and indeed to point out that this is their approach (as the post does), but we should never “count on” convincing people who adopt such approaches: they aren’t sincere, or else they’ve gone batty. So, even as we shine light on the problem, we need the other avenues and tactics to actually make progress in bringing about the societal changes necessary to face and address climate change.

    Election day will tell us a lot about the present context and the challenges ahead.



  5. peter whitehead says:

    Don’t call them deniers, or sceptics. They are CLIMATE VAMPIRES, sucking the life out of our ecosystems.

  6. Jeff Huggins (#4) has it right. These people are not making honest arguments (which is the same charge Jon Stewart raised when he skewered the CNN crossfire guys several years ago). That means that just trying to refute them in the standard academic way isn’t enough. Their strategy needs to be called out explicitly and their funding tracked so that everyone knows who’s paying them to lie and mislead. This is just like what the tobacco companies did with cigarettes and we need to say that over and over and over again until people get it.

  7. Douglas says:

    This reminds me of hearing Lomborg interviewed on the BBC a few months ago. He kept emphatically saying “NOBODY disagrees with the basic facts, it’s what we do about it, blah blah…”

    It’s good to know there’s no disagreement, Bjorn! I’ll tell Inhofe.

  8. BB says:

    It’s counter-intuitive to declare as a ‘fact’ that something’s ‘possible’ … Technically it’s unfalsifiable. I suppose there are a lot of things that are factually impossible.

    I wonder what the sense is in arguing whether or not it’s a fact that something ‘could’ happen, vs. ‘not sure’ if it could happen. It seems the only stance you can take that really is counter, is that it is ‘impossible’ that something ‘could’ happen. Any ambiguity in essence agrees with the idea that an event is still somewhat possible.

    But to say that [insert long-distance future event that’s dependent on a number of variables] is an impossible outcome, would rank just ahead of declaring the same event is virtually guaranteed.