The Guardian Exposes Fossil Funded Groups Coordinating Renewable Energy Attacks

Steve Horn
Desmogblog / News Report
Published: Thursday 10 May 2012
“The Guardian revealed the network of fossil-funded groups coordinating the ongoing onslaught of attacks on renewable energy, particularly wind power.”
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Ever wonder why a blooming green energy industry has faced such harsh opposition? Now, as the old adage goes, "the cat's out of the bag."

The Guardian today revealed the network of fossil-funded groups coordinating the ongoing onslaught of attacks on renewable energy, particularly wind power. A memorandum passed to The Guardian from the Checks and Balances Project details the organizations and personnel acting as ringleaders to build an astroturf echo chamber of clean energy critics.Guardian reporter Suzanne Goldenberg writes in "Conservative thinktanks step up attacks against Obama's clean energy strategy," 

"A number of rightwing organisations, including Americans for Prosperity, which is funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, are attacking Obama for his support for solar and wind power. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which also has financial links to the Kochs, has drafted bills to overturn state laws promoting wind energy."

A confidential memo seen by The Guardian and obtained by DeSmogBlog "advises using 'subversion' to build a national movement of wind farm protesters," explained Goldenberg.

That memo was crafted by the American Tradition Institute (ATI). ATI was the right-wing think-tank behind the lawsuit to obtain University of Virginia climatologist Michael Mann's "ClimateGate" emails. 

DeSmogBlog has covered ALEC's assault on renewable energy previously.

Other gold in the memo, as relayed by Goldenberg:

  • "[A] national PR campaign aimed at causing 'subversion in message of industry so that it effectively because so bad that no one wants to admit in public they are for it.'"
  • "[S]etting up 'dummy businesses' to buy anti-wind billboards, and creating a 'counter-intelligence branch' to track the wind energy industry.  
  • "[C]alls for spending $750,000 to create an organisation with paid staff and tax-exempt status dedicated to building public opposition to state and federal government policies encouraging the wind energy industry."

The memo was authored by John Droz Jr., an ATI Senior Felllow. Droz runs the website "Wind Power Facts" and is a climate change denier, on the record saying,

Is Global Warming a scientifically resolved matter? No. There is some very convincing evidence (and scientists) that indicate that there is such a thing as Global Warming. But there are some very qualified scientists (with good evidence) that suggest just the opposite. More importantly, statements often appearing in the media like 'the majority of scientists' believe in Global Warming, are meaningless. First of all, no legitimate survey has ever been done, and secondly, science is not about the number of people who advocate a position.

Furthermore, Droz is registered as a speaker at this year's Heartland Institute (of DeSmogBlog's "Heartland Exposed" fame) "Denial-a-Palooza" event.

"These documents show for the first time that local Nimby anti-wind groups are co-ordinating and working with national fossil-fuel funded advocacy groups to wreck the wind industry," Gabe Elsner, Checks and Balances co-director told The Guardian.



ABOUT Steve Horn

Steve Horn is a researcher and writer at DeSmogBlog. He is also a freelance investigative journalist. Follow him on Twitter at @Steve_Horn1022.

I believe the designers of

I believe the designers of industrial wind turbines were stoned when they developed a product that didn't take into consideration that they needed to build in grills around the blades. Every time I look at turbines I think about the total idiots who would design a product with such a thoughtless design.

What happened to subsidizing research and development for rooftop solar at the source of use and completely off of a grid. Let the energy and transmission companies let the companies that are using all the energy to pay on the grid.

I don't agree with your

I don't agree with your article. You are wrong about Industrial Renewable Energy. I live in the Tehachapi Pass. The people are being forced out of our homes by the noise of hundreds of turbines. It's like living next to an airport where the noise penetrates through the windows and is heard over all the other indoor sounds. Each wind factory is 20+ sq. miles put into the middle of California flyways, migration paths, nesting, breeding and foraging havens. FAA requires red beacons on structures over 200 feet. There are so many, looking toward the National Pacific Crest Trail, the night sky is muddy magenta every single night rising up in the sky. Wind energy is at best intermittent. I know. I see hundreds of them every day of my life. We oppose them for good reason, not because we want fossil fuel. Author of this article, if you don't live in this mess you shouldn't report on facts you cannot comprehend.

Thank you for researching

Thank you for researching what we have "known" for a long time. The dirty rhetoric does not dissuade the hardened activist, but it sure makes convincing the general public (who get their info from the corporate-controlled major media) very hard. Short term costs are on everyone's minds. Sound investment in energy resources which will mitigate the climate crisis requires a different paradigm of valuation. Some big utilities are carefully investing in renewables WHILE spreading negative disinformation, seemingly to corner the eventual market. Nextera Energy/FPL is so obviously guilty of this, but has no shame in Florida, a regulated utility state. Here this enormous corporation collects all construction-related expenses from the very customers who will be paying for power generated by them later. They have all the benefits of a corporation and of a municipal utility with none of the risks of either. They could change the legislation if they wanted, but BAU is very profitable in the short term, which keeps their shareholder very happy. So we wait for Nextera to do the right thing while they convince the public and regulators that it is still to expensive.

This sounds like a rather

This sounds like a rather weak story - these things have been known and published by many sources for a long time. What I don't see in your story (or your account of their story) is the influence of oil companies, the coal industry, or big oil investors like the Koch brothers and Richard Mellon (of the Carnegie-Mellon family fortune).

To point fingers only at Heartland, ATI, and ALEC ignores the masters pulling the puppets' strings. Republicans denying climate change and attacking clean energy are the symptoms, but the campaign contributors behind the scenes (and the lack of transparency) are the real problem. Exxon-Mobil finances fake research, Mellon and the Kochs sponsor "think tanks" that disseminate it, Congress gets 100's of millions of dollars in campaign contributions to read it and vote accordingly.

some of the information is in

some of the information is in the original article and other clickable links, see http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/may/08/conservative-thinktank...

Will this story appear

Will this story appear anywhere in the American mainstream media?

No, it will not. Because these agents of destruction have bought our media and along with it our democracy.

Occupy!

Makes one wonder why the

Makes one wonder why the fossil fuel people aren't branching out into renewables to be the top suppliers for the future instead of fighting what is inevitable? Who knows, maybe they're doing it all, continuing fossil fuel production, fighting the renewables and doing R and D in renewables as part of some corporate gaming. Either that or they are behaving in an extremely myopic manner because even if oil is still in abundance global warming is going to limit the continued unregulated use of the fossil fuels.

Makes one wonder why the

Makes one wonder why the fossil fuel people aren't branching out into renewables to be the top suppliers for the future instead of fighting what is inevitable? Who knows, maybe they're doing it all, continuing fossil fuel production, fighting the renewables and doing R and D in renewables as part of some corporate gaming. Either that or they are behaving in an extremely myopic manner because even if oil is still in abundance global warming is going to limit the continued unregulated use of the fossil fuels.

Billionaire Kochroaches are

Billionaire Kochroaches are selfishly promoting their unbridled accumulation of obscene wealth while simultaneously promoting the destruction of the planet. They don't give a damn because they are up in their seventies and eighties and will never have enough wealth, even if they owned everything, because they are morally ill psychopaths who pose a danger to everyone and everything on the planet including themselves.

Norman Allen's picture

Behind every attack on a

Behind every attack on a rational public policy stands an easy cash-flow machine, oblivious to the changed world and changed societies. They will try their best to thwart the change but change is inevitable as is evolution. In a few years, the smoke stacks and the dirty energy would be history as efficient systems reduces consumption and conscious consumers abandon earth destructive ways of life.

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