Tomorrow, the ultra conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) will launch a new round of television ads attacking former Vice President Al Gore for his leadership on climate change. The right-wing Washington Times gleefully reported on CEI’s ad buy on Saturday:
Al Gore’s opulent lifestyle and his virtuous plea to save the planet from global warming don’t mesh, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), which announced plans yesterday for a new national advertising campaign to showcase the contrast before the American public.
In fact, Al Gore has worked diligently to reduce his own carbon impact. After a thorough renovation of his house — complete with a fight to obtain zoning permission for solar panels — Gore has one of the first 14 homes in the United States to receive the LEED gold certification for efficiency and green practices. The renovations “cut the home’s summer electrical consumption by 11 percent compared with a year ago.”
CEI’s campaign simply recycles old partisan smears. According to the Times, CEI is relying on “research released last year by the Tennessee Center for Policy Research,” a conservative group founded by Drew Johnson, who previously worked for the right-wing National Taxpayers Foundation and interned for the Exxon-funded American Enterprise Institute.
CEI is hardly a neutral player either:
— The Washington Monthly reported, “The Competitive Enterprise Institute has been a particularly aggressive advocate of the notion that global warming is a ‘theory not a fact.’” [LINK]
— CEI “adjunct analyst” Donald Boudreaux said in 2006: “the best policy regarding global warming is to neglect it — and let capitalism continue to make us healthier and wealthier.” [LINK]
— CEI has received more than $2 million from ExxonMobil since 1998. [LINK]
— CEI’s global-warming denying position is so radical that last year, ExxonMobil announced it had ceased funding CEI, in an effort to improve its corporate image. [LINK]
— CEI belongs to the State Policy Network, a “voluntary and by invitation-only” coalition of free-market think tanks that includes both the Tennessee Center for Policy Research and the Heartland Institute, which ran last week’s global warming denial conference. [LINK, LINK]
This is not the first time CEI has tried to distract attention from global warming science in order to attack Gore. Last year, it produced two ads asserting the virtues of carbon dioxide. The ad campaign had the Orwellian title, “They call it pollution. We call it life.”
UPDATE: Desmog blog notes that CEI is trying to fundraise off its Gore campaign.