New Climate Bill Forgery? Faking Broad Public Opposition

Last week, climate bill opponents were caught red handed forging letters in order to whip up public opposition to green-jobs legislation now in Congress.

This week, we were reminded that there is more than one kind of forgery when it comes to faking public support.  Exhibit A is "The More Americans Know About Cap-and-Tax, The More They Oppose It," from the folks at the American Energy Alliance (AEA).

Here's the 411 on AEA.  It is the spawn of two anti-green jobs groups:  the National Association of Manufacturers and ... wait for it! ... the American Petroleum Institute, the fat-cat lobbyists who are responsible for putting the capital "B" and "O" in "Big Oil". I wrote about AEA back in April when they ran ads based on false claims about the cost of the climate bill.

According to the AEA's round-up release:  "In Newspapers Coast-to-Coast, Energy Rationing Bill Continues to Get Exposed for What it is: A Job Killer." And how do our oily friends reach that conclusion?  In a move that is unlikely to represent a threat to the future of scientific polling, AEA bases its claims on eight letters to the editor and one op-ed.

What do the selected editorial page items tell us?  First, AEA is apparently endorsing flat-out, wild-eyed howling-at-the-moon denial of global warming science.   Take this "op-ed" found in the Springfield (MO) News Leader

I told you in my column on July 10 that global warming was a hoax. Just when I thought the cap and trade lunatics could not be any more ignorant, along comes the Democrat-controlled Congress with the Waxman-Markey bill on climate change. Cap and tax or con and tax are all better names for this abhorrent bill.

Message: AEA appears to be 100 percent comfortable in embracing this full-throated, know-nothing approach to trashing the consensus view on global warming science. Our second favorite piece is an anti-cap and trade diatribe that appears in something called the "McLeod County Chronicle" in Minnesota.  We asked a Minnesota native if he had ever heard of this newspaper.  He said "no," but did tell us that the bend in the road where it is published (Glencoe) is the kind of place that other small town kids in Minnesota make fun of when they want to look down on an even smaller town.  

There's a reason why our friend from Minnesota hadn't heard of this "newspaper" - and that's because it's a publication in only the most generous sense of the term possible.  In reality, it's a "shopper"/"pennysaver" publication - you know:  one of those freebie publications that you swear about when they clutter the end of your driveway.

So, color us decidedly not impressed by the AEA "roundup" of public outrage. Even assuming that this was meant to be taken seriously, it's still pretty funny.  Couldn't we just do the same thing by collating positive letters to the editor from across the nation?  Of course we could. Check out these highlights from last week:

Indiana. Farmers want climate change legislation, The (Huntington County) Herald-Press, (letter to editor), 07/30/2009. President Indiana Farmer's Union:  America's family farmers and ranchers have a unique role to play when it comes to combating global climate change and the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 is a step in the right direction.  

North Carolina. Climate bill vote praised,, (letter to the editor), 07/26/09. While it is flawed, we thank Rep. Shuler for his recent positive vote on the energy bill. It is a beginning, much needed, and hopefully not too late for the small window of opportunity we have to, perhaps, slow down the effects of global warming.

Pennsylvania. Combatting climate change, Williamsport Sun-Gazette, (letter to editor), 07/29/2009. Pennsylvania Farmer's Union:  America's family farmers and ranchers have a unique role to play when it comes to combating global climate change. Several members of Pennsylvania's congressional delegation understand that, and I thank them for their votes in support of the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act of 2009 ...

Massachusetts.  Letter: Tsongas takes right approach on energy bill, Eagle Tribune, (letter to editor), 07/30/09. ‎I applaud Congresswoman Niki Tsongas for her vote in favor of, and strong support for, the American Clean Energy and Security Act.  New Jersey. On road to energy independence,, (letter to editor),  07/28/2009. To the editor: Thanks to Congressman Leonard Lance for his vote in favor of the American Clean Energy and Security Act.

Pennsylvania. A different view on cap and trade, (Chester) Daily Local News, (letter to editor), 07/24/2009. Contrary to Rep. Joe Pitts' July 20 letter, a cap-and-trade bill to cut global warming pollution would help Pennsylvania economically and environmentally..... Senators Arlen Specter and Bob Casey, we need you to support cap and trade for Pennsylvania's environment and economy. 

South Carolina. Letters to the Editor, The Post and Courier, (letter to the editor), 07/29/2009. A recent letter to the editor said that the American people are opposed to climate legislation. This may be the letter writer's opinion, but polls consistently show that people want climate and energy legislation by overwhelming majorities....

Georgia. Kevin Foley: Cap-and-trade will slow climate-change damage, Marietta Daily Journal, (op-ed), 07/30/09. There is a trend among right-wing pundits called global warming denial. They dismiss decades of serious scientific research.

The good news is that we don't have to make our case with unscientific methods like random editorial page opinion round-ups.  We'll settle for hard cold facts, such as those in the June 2009 survey from the Pew Environment Group:

Our new polling clearly demonstrates that Americans the country unmistakably support action on global warming. They believe that addressing global warming will mean more jobs, less pollution and a healthier economy that is more reliant upon sustainable forms of energy.

A supermajority, 78%, want the U.S. to reduce its emissions of carbon dioxide that cause global warming. By a ratio of 4-to-1, voters support the core principles of the energy plan being considered by the U.S. Congress; 72% favor the two-part plan to reduce emissions and require use of clean energy sources. Overall, two thirds, 65%, believe efforts to reduce global warming will either help create new jobs or have no effect on jobs.

It is now up to President Barack Obama and the members of the Senate to focus their leadership on strengthening this bill and getting it signed into law without delay.