"Tim Phillips On Climate Policy: ‘If We Win The Science Argument, It’s Game, Set, And Match’"
At an October blogger briefing at the Heritage Foundation, Americans For Prosperity president Tim Phillips explained his organization’s plans for defending global warming pollution. A day after his policy director, Phil Kerpen, claimed the organization did not question the science of climate change at a Center for American Progress Action Fund event, Phillips relished in the success of the “UK email scandals” for convincing people of a scientific “conspiracy,” saying “over the last ten years it appears it was cooling and not warming.” “If we win the science argument, I think it’s game, set, and match” for “the left,” he expounded. Phillips also discussed his plans as head of the astroturf group to make the Environmental Protection Agency an “albatross” and to kill “the myth of green jobs.”
Phillips has harnessed right-wing populist anger in the service of pollution giant Koch Industries on several fronts, especially to prevent any limits on greenhouse gas pollution. His organization’s propaganda efforts include attacks on climate legislation, with the “No Climate Tax” pledge signed by a large majority of freshmen Republicans, and the “Hot Air Tour” that has traveled around the country the last few summers. AFP’s “Regulation Reality” campaign attempts to demonize the Environmental Protection Agency. Their campaigns use a mix of false economic arguments, appeals to patriotic freedom, and support of global warming denial.
In 2011, Phillips announced, his organization plans to drive a wedge between Congress and the EPA, to increase attacks on climate science, and to attempt to discredit clean energy jobs, creating the impression that the American people support a pollution agenda (even though polls show the opposite).
“We have to make the Environmental Protection Agency an albatross”
They made it a political liability, guys like Ernie and others, and they pushed back on OSHA. And then there was proof that you could indeed take on a regulatory agency and push it back. We have to make the Environmental Protection Agency an albatross, a political albatross for members of Congress.
We launched a “regulation reality” effort earlier this year, we’re going to continue that — that goes around the country and lays out how the EPA is costing jobs, how it is driving up the cost of our goods which makes them less competitive, and it works. Members of Congress suddenly began paying attention when they’ve got small business owners and local folks, consumers, in their districts and states who were pounding them, saying “What the heck are you doing to me here?”
The number one thing I hear on the road at our events is the EPA. That’s the number one agency. Now the health care thing is looming on the horizon, but the EPA is what’s killing more jobs and inhibiting more job-creators than anything else out there.
“We started looking now at the scientific impact and the fact that over the last ten years it appears it was cooling and not warming”
We made a decision early on, we launched our effort on cap and trade and global warming about three years ago. We’ve been at it for a while. We made a decision that as a free-market group we would focus on the economic impact. So we’ve focused on job losses, there are some great studies out there. Heritage. We’ve used Heritage for the job-loss studies especially, and the National Association of Manufacturers, groups like that. We started looking now at the scientific impact and the fact that over the last ten years it appears it was cooling and not warming. Hence the name change, you notice how it went from “global warming” to “climate change.” Whenever the left gets in trouble, they change the name! It was liberals, now the public has repudiated liberalism, and now it’s “progressivism.” They did the same thing with “global warming” and switched over to “climate change.”
“If we win the science argument, I think it’s game, set, and match for them”
The one thing I know from the polling data that the American public knows there’s an economic liability. They clearly agree with us on that. And for the first time, in the last twelve months especially, I’ve seen a dramatic tilt among independents especially with regard to believing the science involved behind global warming. That was in the high seventies, a little as two years ago. High seventies said yeah, there’s scientific evidence for man-made global warming. That’s now dropping, depends on what poll you’re looking at, Gallup and others. That’s down in the low fifties now. That’s precarious for the left. Because they’ve already lost the economic argument. We’ve beaten them there. We’ve just got to keep pounding that argument. If we win the science argument, I think it’s game, set, and match for them.
“There is a conspiracy going on, there are people fixing the data”
I think the UK email scandals was probably the tipping point. I think that’s for the first time — you’d always had some outliers, I say that in a good way, not in a bad way, who were saying, hey wait a minute, there is a conspiracy going on, there are people fixing the data. I think that when those emails became public, the public looked at it and said wait a minute, here’s this supposedly UN, these UN scientists, and we’ve always — I think we hold scientists in high regard, and that’s a good thing, science is, uh, a good thing — but when it was clear from those email exchanges that they were manipulating data, and even hiding data that was not of advantage to them, that was a crucial tipping point on the science side.
I think the economic tipping point was $3 and $4 a gallon gas. When $4 a gallon gas happened two summers ago, remember when that kicked in? We noticed a dramatic uptick in turnout for our rallies, events, the pressure on the legislators, being willing to call and email. And the polling data confirmed that, saying that it was $4 a gallon gas. And then I think that the UK email scandal was the science side.
“How sad for the polar bears, right?”
And the other thing that we’re really pushing with allies is the myth of green jobs. I know many of you have been on this issue as well. What a great balloon to puncture. Because that’s the last leg they have to stand on. You noticed what the president, what the left talks about on this? It used to be the science. Then they began tilting away from the science and saving the polar bears to it’s the right thing to do, you know. And now it’s job creation. They’re literally reduced to a job creation argument. They don’t even talk about the polar bears any more. How sad for the polar bears, right? It’s wrong. But, now it’s job creation argument. That’s the last thing they’ve had. And it’s not a legitimate argument. I think the public is getting that.