Special Report

Separate But Still the Same

The Center for Climate Strategies is on its new solo tour, playing all the old classics.

By 2.12.09

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A global warming alarmist group that masqueraded for the last few years as an objective consultant for many states announced this week that it has been disowned by its global warming alarmist parents .

Not that that will change anything.

The Center for Climate Strategies, whose failed track record spreads beyond the warming mythology, announced its separation last week from the Pennsylvania Environmental Council. For a long time CCS hawkers Tom Peterson and Ken Colburn (video), while promoting their climate environoia (video), hid their bond with PEC. Now they say they were related all along.

To recap, here's how this scheme was birthed. Years ago PEC, which says it is "a catalyst for legislative, regulatory and policy change by public and private decision-makers to advance solutions that are in the best environmental and economic interests of the Commonwealth," decided to export its activism outside Pennsylvania. It created Enterprising Environmental Solutions (why has its website been taken down?), which housed CCS, with the goal (PDF of their tax return) of "form(ing) EESI to carry out their non-regulatory agenda," as "EESI has their own board of directors and is controlled by PEC, since PEC is the only member of EESI." Despite this clear statement, CCS's  executive director Peterson said, "(EESI) does not have an advocacy mission, and it doesn't have an advocacy history."

A bit of alphabet soup, but the gist is that Peterson disavowed CCS's IRS-granted purpose. He also apparently hid the center's agenda from the states it sought business from. Peterson, his lieutenant Colburn, and CCS have zipped around the country to pitch (mostly) governors (or their administrations) on this premise, in my own paraphrasing:

There is a human-caused global warming crisis and the states must do something about it, because the federal government is not. We ask the governor to issue an executive order that confirms this crisis and creates a commission to study greenhouse gas emissions -- but call it a "climate commission." Appoint members who buy into the anthropogenic global warming crisis, and include some representatives from utilities and business, but not too many or they might screw things up. Once you hire CCS, we will take care of everything for you from then on: run the meetings, set the agendas, write the meeting minutes, provide technical analysis, maintain the website, and establish the voting rules. Oh, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and other global warming alarmist foundations have provided the funding for our work, so don't you worry! Just let CCS do its thing.

While Peterson and Colburn have been far from transparent about their origins (they also hide how much they get paid), the work CCS does has also been thoroughly discredited. They forbade any debate or discussion about global warming science. As they wooed states out of as much money as they could (not much, it turns out) to reduce the burden on their subsidizers -- mainly the Rockefeller Brothers Fund -- they peddled incompetent economics (Green jobs! Cost savings!) in every state where they worked. They could not produce analysis in any state that showed the effect their policy recommendations would have upon climate -- ostensibly the purpose for their state commissions. And besides their disregard for recent observed climatological trends, they continue to promote obsolete technologies like biofuels, which recent studies show have increased greenhouse gas emissions rather than reduced them.

CCS is adrift in the same leaky skiff that their fellow alarmists are trying to survive in. After the anomalously heated year of 1998 (thanks, El Nino) groups like CCS and their fellow environmental activist groups sought big financial scores, and along with their sugar daddies (familiar names like the Heinz Foundation, Ted Turner’s foundation, the Hewlett and Packard Foundations, and the Rockefellers’ many foundations) built another bubblicious industry which long ago lost its flavor and can inflate no more.

Now the deception that the Center for Climate Strategies has carried out in at least 20 states has been exposed, and all the more so because of its now-admitted past relationship with the Pennsylvania Environmental Council. But happy talk of the "we'll always be friends"-nature marked its separation announcement:

"This move reflects the great success that CCS has had working to address the issue of climate change in more than twenty states," said Paul King, Chair and Interim President of PEC. "The success that CCS has had is remarkable."

"We are looking forward to continuing our efforts and to focus more intently on the climate issues at the national level" said (Tom) Peterson, (president of CCS). "We greatly appreciate PEC's support of our work over the past several years."

It doesn't matter, practically. Considering CCS's past denial of reality, it'll need scrutiny now more than ever.

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About the Author

Paul Chesser publishes CarolinaPlottHound.com, a news aggregator for North Carolina, and is a contributor of articles, research and investigative reports for both national and state-level free-market think tanks.