A new report funded by big oil and big tobacco has the chutzpah to complain about corporate influence on the climate debate.
A month ago I was contacted by a journalist who works for Greenwire, an American publication that describes itself as the “leader in energy and environmental policy news.” He sent me a series of questions, one group of which read as follows:
Many of these groups (Heartland, CEI, etc.) get donations from foundations linked to the fossil fuels industry. Should that in your opinion cast any doubt on their motives in questioning climate change? Or is that unimportant?
CEI stands for the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Like the Heartland Institute, it is a think tank that believes societies prosper when governments reduce – rather than expand – red tape. It believes in the power of ordinary people and small businesses to create jobs and the sort of wealth that funds schools, hospitals, the arts, and so forth.
This is a perfectly legitimate – even compelling – perspective. Those who think that government bureaucrats dreaming up thousands of new regulations every year is what makes the world go round are equally entitled to their point-of-view. But one doesn’t need to do much reading on green websites before getting the impression that “right-wing” and “conservative” think tanks such as the Heartland and CEI are indistinguishable from Satan. The big piece of evidence for this, we’re told, is that they accept money from fossil fuel companies.