There was a little covered, but frighteningly dangerous event in New York City this week. The Attorneys General from 12 states and the US Virgin Islands got together with their pal, Former VP Al Gore to announce those 12 states would start to work together (to collude, if you will) to prosecute climate deniers for fraud. Their main target is Exxon Mobile, but really, they will go after anyone who has said things about climate change that don't match up with the settled science.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman introduced their scheme, saying, "So we've gathered here today for a conference, the first of its kind conference of attorneys general dedicated to coming up with creative ways to enforce laws being flouted by the fossil fuel industry and their allies in their short sighted efforts to put profits above the interest of the American people."
There are several problems with this statement. First of all, why do you need creative ways to enforce the laws? If someone is breaking the law, shouldn't you be able to prosecute them without having to create something new, out of thin air? Shouldn't you be able to go by the book, or the letter of the law? If you are creating law, aren't you violating the concept of separation of powers? Isn't being creative with law the role of the legislature? If the legislature hasn't created the law, then an Attorney General who is being creative with the law is, by definition, violating the law as it's written. Attorneys General shouldn't be creative with the law any more than Judges should. Any attorney general who thinks his or her job is to be creative with the law should be fired immediately before they unconstitutionally violate another citizen's rights.
Secondly, if someone is flouting the laws, why haven't you charged them already? Why does it take a coalition of 12 states to file charges against a person or corporation that is flouting the law? Isn't this conference simply an admission that you either are incompetent at prosecuting laws on your own or you are trying to figure out how to charge someone for a crime that hasn't actually been committed?
And third, what is wrong with profit? President Calvin Coolidge said, "The business of America is business." It is the interest of the American people for American companies to make a profit. Without profit there is no business. Without business, there are no jobs; there is no economy. Without profit, there is no America.
Schneiderman continues, "We have heard the scientists, we know what's happening to the planet. There is no dispute, but there is confusion." If he has heard the scientists, he heard them wrong. No scientist has been so bold, so brazen to declare outright, "we know what's happening to the planet." They have put out a theory demonstrated by numerous computer models. All of those computer models show that the planet should have warmed up more than it actually has. Even when they manually adjust the temperature records to make things appear warmer today and colder in the past, the adjusted temperatures are still lower than all of the models. The models don't match reality and reality is not wrong. The scientists will say, "the heat is hiding in the oceans," except that the models didn't predict that heat would hide in the oceans. They don't know what's happening to the planet and if any scientist said so definitively under oath in a court of law, it would be perjury.
Further, there is no consensus. Just last week, the American Meteorological Society, an organization whose leadership does believe in Global Warming, put out a survey that says at least one third of their own members don't believe in man made global warming. Again, that's from a pro-climate change group! So much for the 97% consensus. There is a legitimate dispute in climate science, but Schneiderman and his cohorts are trying to confuse you about it so they can go on their creative crusade.
That hypocrisy was in full display at this conference. Our former Vice President, Al Gore spoke at the same event, saying, "The effort to hold to account those commercial interests that have been, according to the best available evidence, deceiving the American people, communicating in a fraudulent way, both about the reality of the climate crisis and the dangers it poses to all of us and committing fraud in their communications about the viability of renewable energy and efficiency and energy storage that together are posing this great competitive challenge to the long reliance on carbon based fuels."
Ok, so we want to "hold to account" corporate interests that have been, "according to the best evidence," deceiving the American people. Are you talking about a film company that produced a documentary about global warming which proved to be so false that it's not allowed to be showed in schools in England? Is that what your talking about, Mr. Gore or is that just an inconvenient truth?
How about communicating in a fraudulent way about the climate crisis? Are you referring to you own statements and predictions about the polar icecap disappearing by 2015? Or the decline in polar bear populations that never happened?
And what about the viability of renewable energy? You want to prosecute corporations that say negative things about solar and wind power? Does that include Google, a company you own? Here's a statement from two too Google engineers, Ross Koningstein and David Fork in an article they wrote for IEEE magazine in November of 2014. "We felt that with steady improvements to today's renewable energy technologies, our society could stave off catastrophic climate change. We now know that to be a false hope." They continue, "renewable energy technologies simply won't work; we need a fundamentally different approach." Mr Gore, if you are so committed to combatting this version of corporate fraud, why aren't you going after your own company, Google? Why aren't Mr. Koningstein and Mr. Fork already in jail? It's a simple choice here. You either have to go after Google and its employees or you have to admit you are a hypocrite of the highest order.
Speaking of companies that are owned by Al Gore. Let's talk about SolarCity. Solar City is a company that makes solar panels, mostly for residential customers. Solar City is owned, in part by Generation Investment Management. GIM has two managing partners, David Blood, who used to work at Goldman Sachs, and (wait for it) Al Gore. That's right. If SolarCity makes money, Al Gore makes money. Since he left office after trying to steal the presidential election away from the will of the voters in Florida, he has made over $170 million dollars investing in companies like Solar City and selling his failing television channel, Current TV to Al Jazeera, a media company finance by Mideast oil. So, an article on investorplace.com caught my eye. It was written the same day Mr. Gore and his Attorneys General declared war on Exxon Mobile. The title of the article is SolarCity Corp: Clouds are Clearing for the SolarCity Stock. The most important line in the article, "for one, solar stocks in general are on the rise, spurred by an extension of the solar tax credit here in the US and productive global climate change talks in Paris in December." Al Gore lobbied the Obama administration and Congress to have those solar credits extended; credits from which he personally benefitted. He also spoke at the Paris Climate Conference last fall.
Eric Schneiderman, the Attorney General for the state of New York doesn't need to get creative to stop climate change fraud that allows corporate interests to profit off of lies and the misrepresentation of science. He just needed to arrest the man who was standing next to him.