Polluter Front Group Prepares Attack Against Western Climate Initiative

Our guest blogger is Kevin Grandia of the DeSmog Project.

A powerful coal and oil industry lobby group called the the Western Business Roundtable is scheming to derail the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), founded by a number of progressive US states and Canadian provinces in 2007 to begin tackling carbon emissions in the face of endless inaction from their national governments. The Desmog Project has come into possession of an internal memo that the Western Business Roundtable recently sent to their members, laying bare their strategy for smearing the work of the WCI.

The WCI aims to lay the foundation for a continental cap and trade system to limit greenhouse gases 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. The coalition currently has 11 member states and provinces representing 20 percent of the US, and 70 percent of the Canadian economy. They recently released their detailed recommendations for a regional cap and trade system that will be voted on for ratification by the member states and provinces.

The Western Business Roundtable is a conservative fossil-fuel industry organization whose membership includes Peabody Coal, Shell Oil, and the Western Fuels Association. WBR is a project of the right-wing public relations firm Policy Communications, which is also responsible for these other Orwellian front groups: Partnership for America, Americans for American Energy, NextGen Energy Council, and the Conservation Science Foundation.


And guess what? This group is about to release an “economic analysis” that will trash the recommendations of the WCI. Wonders never cease. The Business Roundtable memo obtained by the Desmog Project talks candidly about yet to be released “findings”:

Our report… will critically examine virtually all aspects of the WCI Recommendations, including its major assumptions, scenarios, findings, recommendations and economic modeling. Among the specific topics to be addressed in this analysis are these:

– Inefficiencies of a Unilateral Regional Plan

– Lack of measurable benefit in future climates according to United Nations-IPCC assumptions

– Implausibility of the WCI’s Electric Power Scenario

– Likely Actual Costs of WCI Initiative

– Macroeconomic Implications on GDP, Industry and Jobs

– Disproportionate Impact On Low-Income Families of Higher Prices Caused by WCI Recommendations

– Impacts on New Power Plant Construction and Energy Supply

– Bureaucratic Implications

Strange. This “detailed economic analysis” sounds a lot more like an industry-funded PR campaign. Don’t expect any surprises when industry again opposes meaningful change around carbon. Instead, except more drivel about “carbon capture and storage” technology and of course, the further expansion of coal plants.


The important work of the Western Climate Initiative represents a significant step towards tackling carbon emissions and move towards a green economy. As their recommendations move toward ratification, expect the usual fossil-fueled push-back. It seems no good deed goes unpunished.

Originally posted at DeSmogBlog.