This week, the Koch climate disinfo hub RealClearEnergy has run four pieces that illustrate some flavors of professional climate denial.
The first was a short pitch for more fossil fuel infrastructure on Monday, coming from Ed Finklea of the "Alliance of Western Energy Consumers," a fossil fuel lobby group. Supposedly the natural (methane) gas the US produces is protecting consumers from price shocks resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, because fracking decoupled US gas from global oil prices. Which may be true, but if it is, then his suggestion that the US invest in export infrastructure to ship our methane to Europe would then raise prices by increasing demand. (Something American Gas Association VP of Energy Markets Richard Meyer admitted to reporters in May.)
So which is it, Ed? Should we export more gas to Europe, or should we keep it in the US to keep prices low? Can't have both! In fact, the recent explosion at an export terminal has caused US prices to drop 16%, and Europe's to jump 16%, illustrating that Finklea is either intentionally being deceptive, or is someone who has "represented energy consumerism regulatory matters since the 1980s," per his byline, yet would very clearly flunk the first test in an Economics 101 course. (Our lawyers advise against saying Finklea is either stupid, or a liar.) (And they said we definitely shouldn't offer "both" as a third option.)
On Tuesday, RealClearEnergy featured something by Murray Hitzman, whose paragraph-length byline features the notable inclusion of "technical advisor" to a mining company, who wants readers to know "There Will Be No Just Energy Transition Without Mining In Our Backyards."
"The question is," Hitzman poses, "if green policy advocates in Europe and North America are serious about ensuring a more just global transition to a decarbonized future, can they bring themselves to encourage more responsible mining in our own backyard?"
The answer, of course, is that climate advocates would welcome responsible mining in their own backyard. It's the companies who fail to meet the environmental and social standards Hitzman handwaves with a recognition "very legitimate concerns" underpinning lawsuits that halt mining due to "potential possible harm to local land and water along with equity for marginalized communities, which are often Native American."
Why, then, are we supposed to lower our standards and put marginalized communities at risk, when the companies could just be responsible? (Profits are higher the dirtier you're allowed to be.)
Hitzman's piece is essentially blackmail: let mining companies pollute Native American communities (again), or the climate gets it!
The next day, RealClearEnergy kept up the lobbying to repeal bedrock environmental protection laws with the latest attempt to GOP-wash the Republican party's climate denial by pretending that a pro-fossil-fuel platform is good for the climate, courtesy of Heather Reams. She's president of the Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, a political lobby group dedicated to making Republicans look like they care about climate change, without abandoning their fossil fuel donors. By co-opting language feigning concern about climate, CRES is helping Republicans in moderate areas get elected by softening their extremist image that's alienating the college-educated, suburban white women they need to stay in power.
But that doesn't mean the professional disinformation network is giving up on its more brazen denial, as per the fourth example, from FreedomWorks VP of policy Cesar Ybarra. Turns out the industry-funded group is opposed to the plan to get the Postal Service using Electric Vehicles. Ybarra points to the higher up-front costs of purchasing and building charging stations, and of course conveniently forgets to mention that the long-term costs of EVs are lower because they are far cheaper and easier to maintain and you don't have to keep buying gasoline.
Which is, of course, classic denial: showing only half the picture, the half that hides the benefits of climate action and the industry's payout to the person making the claim.