Growing up, your first taste of being an insider is joining a club. It may have been something formal like a fan club where you send them money and they send you a membership card – or mouse ears. Or it could have been as informal as taking some old sheets of plywood out of the garage and hammering together a clubhouse that could only be accessed by the people who worked on it. Either way, you learned exclusivity had its privileges – especially if you’re on the inside looking out.
If you’ve ever joined an elite country club or an exclusive business association, you know what I mean. Both are places where like-minded people with similar interests can gather to pursue their common goals. And, because grown-ups take on financial responsibilities, clubs are a way to protect and hopefully enhance your ability to earn a living.
The commerce of climate change in the U.S. is one of our fastest growing industries and what I’m guessing is one of the key reasons unemployment hasn’t gone through the roof during President Obama’s administration. The industry has spawned its own academic clubs, government clubs, media clubs even business associations. But with climate change there is no middle ground; you are either on the inside or the outside. If you dabble in the fossil fuels trade you are the enemy outsider. If you are a scientist with real questions about the postulations the industry has put forth you are a heretic. If you are skeptical about the least little bit of data you are labeled a denier and tossed out of the club.
Roger Pielke Jr. recently wrote in an open letter to the Wall Street Journal describing how he was forced to give up his work on climate change and find another subject to research because his finding didn’t support the popular belief that climate change was responsible for creating more frequent and intense weather events. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the oracle of the industry, published a report that included a graph using fabricated data that tied increased temperatures to rising insurance costs. The data came from non-other than the insurance industry’s own scientists. Once Pielke refuted the IPCC’s analysis using easily accessed weather data he went from a self-proclaimed climate change believer to what his colleagues call a climate denier. He was no longer in the club.
Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller has a story up about the cozy relationship between climate activists and the media that reports on them. The story details how management for the Rockefeller Family Fund and the editorial executives at the L.A. Times have apparently conspired to push a narrative that Exxon covered up its own climate data to pursue a polluting-for-profit agenda. It also tells how these same players used their connections with New York AG Eric Schneiderman to start an investigation into Exxon’s cover-up. Soon after, Schneiderman received more than $250,000 in political donations.
The Times and the RFF didn’t stop there. The Times management invited the RFF to submit an op-ed to the editorial page after it had already published its own scathing report on Exxon. Another member of the L.A. Times editorial staff is a board member of the Web site Inside Climate News. ICN touts itself as a non-partisan news organization and is happy to prop up its credibility by enumerating the awards they’ve won including a Pulitzer. The RFF has contributed a small fortune to ICN and its reporting on Exxon demonstrates just how appreciative they are for that support. Real news organizations don’t take money from groups pushing a particular agenda – unless they’re named Pravda or Tribuna de La Habana.
ICN is the brainchild of a PR executive whose agency, Science First, handled a law firm specializing in environmental activism. ICN was developed to appear as a legitimate media source to support the firm’s PR strategies in a way that appeared independent from the agency. Now ICN receives almost all its funding from environmental activist groups. One must wonder what kind of significance is attached to a Pulitzer these days when it’s awarded to a publication that is, at best, pursuing advocacy journalism and at worst the Sierra Club’s house organ.
This web of tidy networks between government, media, and academia would not be so alarming, or even necessary if environmental activists weren’t so defensive. But Climate Club exists to build an impenetrable wall around a storyline in which people have invested their entire careers and fortunes. The first rule of Climate Club is you don’t trash talk Climate Club. The narrative must be protected and embellished at any cost. Anyone questioning Climate Club is a denier. Anyone with conflicting data is a heretic. But if climate science is truly settled the way Climate Club says it is, then why are we still even looking at it? Gravity: Now that’s a settled science.