Global Warming Deniers Need to Get Their Villains Straight

If you happen to be a global warming denier, the first step in your recovery is to get your villains straight or soon you’ll be adding your mama to the list of global warming conspirators.

In early 1998, ExxonMobil helped create the Global Climate Science Team (GCST), a task force charged with discrediting the scientific consensus opinion that greenhouse gases are warming the planet. Members of the task force included ExxonMobil’s senior environmental lobbyist, Randy Randol; the American Petroleum Institute’s public relations representative, Joe Walker; and Steven Milloy, who heads a non-profit organization called the Advancement of Sound Science Coalition. Milloy’s organization had been secretly formed in 1993 by tobacco giant Philip Morris with the goal of creating uncertainty about the health hazards posed by second-hand smoke.

This is not the first time that API has been at the center of a secretive campaign to derail carbon controls. In the late 1990s, the institute conspired with Exxon and a cadre of right-wing think tanks to create the “Global Climate Science Communications Action Plan” — an effort to fund any and all climate research that hypes the “weaknesses in scientific understanding” of global warming. “Victory will be achieved,” the plan explained, when “those promoting the Kyoto treaty on the basis of extant science appear to be out of touch with reality.”

According to a leaked internal memo, the head of API directed nearly 400 member companies to mobilize their employees to attend “Energy Citizen” rallies in 20 states to protest a cap on carbon pollution. To ensure the success of the fake grass-roots protests, Gerard bragged that he had also enlisted a bevy of polluting allies — including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.

“Please treat this information as sensitive,” Gerard cautioned in the memo. “We don’t want critics to know our game plan.”

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