A secret memo by the coal industry details a coordinated campaign to spread misinformation about global warming. The memo expresses fear that if the government addresses climate change — through a carbon tax or regulating greenhouse gasses — it will cut into their profits.
Their solution: “support the scientific community that is willing to stand up against the alarmists.” (The memo also refers to people who believe in global warming science as those “whose true motivation is to stop growth, develop renewable resources [and] discontinue the use of fossil fuels, especially coal.”)
But the coal-based utility leading the campaign ran up against a problem: there is no scientific community who agrees with them. The memo acknowledges almost everyone who disputes global warming science have no “involvement in climatology.” So they’ve decided to lavish funding on one climatologist who will do their bidding: Pat Michaels.
The memo describes how the coal-based utility contributed “$100,000 to Dr. Michaels this year.” It also “contacted all the [utilities] in the United States” asking for contributions to Michaels’ research and “obtained additional contributions.” Here are a few highlights from Michaels’ career:
– In 2003, Michaels famously “proved” that global warming was mostly hype by mixing up degrees and radians.
– In 2004, Michaels told Business Week, “We know how much the planet is going to warm. It is a small amount, and we can’t do anything about it.”
– This year, Michaels completely misrepresented a study by Curt Davis to falsely claim that Antartica has been gaining ice in recent years.
In 2003, A Harvard scientist told the Senate Republican Policy Committee that Michaels has “published little if anything of distinction in the professional literature, being noted rather for his shrill op-ed pieces and indiscriminate denunciations of virtually every finding of mainstream climate science.”
Funding Michaels is part of a larger propaganda campaign, involving several industries, described in the memo. Other activities include bankrolling a movie that attacks An Inconvenient Truth, deceptive advertisements by the Competitive Enterprise Institute and aggressive lobbying. Corporations meet regularly with Michaels and CEI to discuss strategy.