Sunday, February 14, 2010

Take that, CEI

I got a good laugh this morning from the headline attached to an op-ed column in today's Herald. Headline writing is not an easy task as it is impossible to always understand what articles are saying and to briefly summarize them accurately in the required space. But I hope the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) is stewing after seeing the headline Let Congress regulate greenhouse gases attached to their typically truth-deficient column. CEI does not want the EPA regulating greenhouse gases (a common refrain these days), but they do not want Congress or anyone else to regulate greenhouse gases either.

Not to try to make it so murky that people cannot understand my point, but the CEI is continually lying and distorting regarding climate science and policy. It is quite fitting that the headline for the column turns out to not accurately portray the stance of CEI on the issue.

CEI has been lying and distorting when it comes to climate so long they are quite expert at it. The entire thesis that having the EPA regulate would destroy the American economy is a fraud. Note there is no call for Congress to actually do any such regulating as the headline implies.

The big lies like that Americans are too stupid or not innovative enough to protect the enviroment and not devastate the climate are one thing. But it is the little lies that get tossed out like they are accepted and fundamental that are often the most insidious to me. The most odius in this column was near the top saying, "The [Clean Air Act] was written in 1970 at a time when scientists fretted about global cooling." No matter how often the claim that climate science was dwelling on cooling and an imminent ice age 40 years ago is debunked, CEI and the like continue to treat it like it is true.

Still though it is the big lies in trying to avert actions to combat climate change that are potentially most damaging. CEI will grasp at whatever straws it can concoct to avoid facing the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Today we hear about supposed regulation nightmares and the need for separation of powers, while a few months ago CEI was trying to head off the EPA by raising bogus questions about a bit of one source of one type of climate data. Last summer CEI (including today's writer William Yeatman) was trying to stir up a controversy claiming the EPA suppressed an internal document that provided reasons to not worry about carbon dioxide emissions when in reality the document was garbage devoid of science and basically regurgitating talking points from the likes of CEI.

If you want to find the peak of shamelessness from CEI, you can go back to their "Carbon dioxide: they call it pollution; we call it life" advertisements from 2006. Just calling them utterly misleading would be far too kind. This is the same as if CEI made commericials fighting against flood control in the Red River Valley (think of all the regulations and government involvement!) with declarations of, "Water: they call it flooding; we call it life."

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