1:45 PM, Jun 2, 2015 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Writing in the Washington Post, Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democratic Senator from Rhode Island, offered a curious suggestion for dealing with global warming skeptics:
In 2006, Judge Gladys Kessler of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia decided that the tobacco companies’ fraudulent campaign amounted to a racketeering enterprise. According to the court: “Defendants coordinated significant aspects of their public relations, scientific, legal, and marketing activity in furtherance of a shared objective — to . . . maximize industry profits by preserving and expanding the market for cigarettes through a scheme to deceive the public.”
The parallels between what the tobacco industry did and what the fossil fuel industry is doing now are striking. ... The coordinated tactics of the climate denial network, Brulle’s report states, “span a wide range of activities, including political lobbying, contributions to political candidates, and a large number of communication and media efforts that aim at undermining climate science.” Compare that again to the findings in the tobacco case.
The tobacco industry was proved to have conducted research that showed the direct opposite of what the industry stated publicly — namely, that tobacco use had serious health effects. Civil discovery would reveal whether and to what extent the fossil fuel industry has crossed this same line. We do know that it has funded research that — to its benefit — directly contradicts the vast majority of peer-reviewed climate science. One scientist who consistently published papers downplaying the role of carbon emissions in climate change, Willie Soon, reportedly received more than half of his funding from oil and electric utility interests: more than $1.2 million.
To be clear: I don’t know whether the fossil fuel industry and its allies engaged in the same kind of racketeering activity as the tobacco industry. We don’t have enough information to make that conclusion. Perhaps it’s all smoke and no fire. But there’s an awful lot of smoke.
That's right -- a sitting U.S. Senator is suggesting using RICO laws should be applied to global warming skeptics. Courts have been defining RICO down for some time and in ways that aren't particularly helpful. In 1994, the Supreme Court ruled RICO statutes could be applied to pro-life activists on the grounds that interstate commerce can be affected even when the organization being targeted doesn't have economic motives.
Obviously, there's a lot of money hanging in the balance with regard to energy policy. But when does coordinating "a wide range of activities, including political lobbying, contributions to political candidates, and a large number of communication and media efforts" go from basic First Amendment expression to racketeering? The tobacco analogy is inappropriate in regards to how direct the link between smoking and cancer is. Even among those who do agree that global warming is a problem, there's a tremendously wide variety of opinions about the practical effects. Who gets to decide whether someone is "downplaying the role of carbon emissions in climate change" relative to the consensus? If message coordination and lobbying on controversial scientific and political issues can be declared racketeering because the people funding such efforts have a financial interest in a predetermined outcome, we're just going to have to outlaw everything that goes on in Washington, D.C.
Here's why.11:38 AM, May 7, 2015 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
The ice is finally melting. Not the Arctic ice, although that might be melting too. I mean the frozen position critics of the global warming hysterics have been taking. They disagree with Obama’s contention that the science of climate change is settled, and prefer reading actual temperatures recorded on thermometers to print-outs of assumption-ridden models.
9:04 AM, Apr 20, 2015 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The president is taking Air Force One to Florida this week. He is going there, unsurprisingly, to make a speech. On Earth Day, about climate change. He could make the speech in Washington, of course, but he needs a prop—in this case, will be the Everglades, which he describes as “one of the most special places in our country.
10:04 PM, Apr 7, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
At an event today at Howard University in Washington, D.C., President Obama warned of the public health risks assocaited with global warming.
"[T]he discussion really centered around the fact that climate change is having a impact on our public health," Obama said at today's event.
Hosted by Michael Graham.3:15 PM, Feb 25, 2015 • By TWS PODCAST
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with senior writer Mark Hemingway on Obama's Keystone veto, and the attack of the environmentalists on sensible energy policies.
10:13 AM, Feb 25, 2015 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
On his blog this morning, Roger Pielke Jr. at the University of Colorado, a respected climate scientist, reveals that he was one of seven academics being being investigated by Rep. Raul Grijalva, the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Natural Resources. Grijalva wants to know all university financial disclosure policies that are applicable to Pielke, detailed information about any sources of external funding and grants he may have received, as well as any communications related to external funding.
12:26 PM, Nov 6, 2014 • By WINDSOR MANN
The warmongers are at it again. In case you haven’t heard, the Pentagon has declared a global war on global warming. It’s our armed forces vs. the forces of nature, and we are the enemy. Those entrusted with protecting us from suicide bombers are now trying to protect the environment from us.
2:43 PM, Oct 9, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
In a few minutes, Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes of Kentucky will meet with the editorial board of the Courier-Journal in Louisville.
It can be done, but not the way the environmental left proposes. Sep 8, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 48 • By ELI LEHRER
From Al Gore to the leadership of groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists, environmentalists long have warned that global disaster is certain unless we do something about rising sea levels. The “something” that most on the left want is to remake our energy economy and increase government control over energy use in order to cut down on human emissions of greenhouse gases that cause the thermal expansion of ocean water and the melting of polar ice sheets.
A map of Internet searches that tells us...absolutely nothing.3:08 PM, Apr 30, 2014 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
A graphic that is ricocheting around the liberal blogosphere this week is purported to demonstrate–what else?–how stupid and ignorant Americans are. (Well, non-Democrat Americans presumably.)
10:39 AM, Mar 11, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The Senate remained in session through Monday night and into this morning. The yield of this all-nighter was … nothing. Which was predictable. There never was any legislative point to the exercise. It was for show. The kindest possible description would be that the senators wanted to raise awareness of global warming/climate change which, of course, has hardly been mentioned at all in the great ongoing public conversation. The least kind description would be that the purpose of the all-nighter was to raise cash.
9:24 AM, Mar 10, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
A group of Democratic senators, as Niels Lesniewski of Roll Call reports, are planning to keep the Senate in session all night tonight. This, in order:
Jan 27, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 19 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
The political debate over what to do about global warming rages on, largely because liberals refuse to have an honest discussion about their plans to deal with it. The heart of their every proposed “solution” to climate change is a radical economic program that would threaten the livelihood and well-being of millions, based on computer models of dubious accuracy trying to project weather patterns decades into the future. Via Bloomberg News, last week we got an unsettling glimpse into just how extreme the economic plans of the climate commissars really are: