May 15, 2012
Wind Energy Under Hot Air Attack
Wind energy is under attack from a network of ultra-conservative groups and “think tanks.” These think tanks are simply propaganda machines for the fossil fuel industry. Americans for Prosperity and the American Legislative Exchange Council are both funded by the Kansas-based Koch brothers. The Guardian has obtained a memo outlining a confidential strategy of “subversion” to destroy the wind power industry in the United States.
According to the Checks and Balances project, the network was planned and suggested by American Tradition Institute (ATI) fellow John Droz and, “indicates the meeting was called to discuss plans for a coordinated national disinformation campaign against wind energy."
The document details a series of wind energy attacks ranging from “counter intelligence,” setting up a “dummy business,” and steering kids away from science projects on wind because “it doesn´t meet the criteria we set up.” The document also notes that they should coordinate national messaging but make sure the same message “appears to come from as many as a dozen separate sources.”
ATI is part of a loose coalition of ultra-conservative think tanks and networks united by their efforts to discredit climate science and their close connections to the oil and gas industry, including the Koch family. Those groups include the Heartland Institute, the John Locke Foundation, and Americans for Prosperity, the organizing arm of the Tea Party movement.
The basic idea is for fossil fuel fronts and money to coordinate with local groups that oppose wind energy. Thus the propaganda will be decentralized to create the appearance of a grass roots movement that begins in multiple locations, and will not be easily traceable to its source, the fossil fuel industry´s lackeys.
Mentioned in the memo are several goals, among them to “Cause subversion in message of energy so that it effectively becomes so bad no one wants to admit in public that they are for it.” The memo also "suggests setting up 'dummy businesses' to buy anti-wind billboards, and creating a 'counter-intelligence branch' to track the wind energy industry. It also calls for spending $750,000 to create an organization with paid staff and tax-exempt status dedicated to building public opposition to state and federal government policies encouraging the wind energy industry,” reports The Guardian.
Marita Noon, a conservative activist from New Mexico who attended the conference for anti-wind propaganda told The Guardian's Suzanne Goldenberg that America should be more like Walmart and Costco, and that these companies represented the American Way. She said, “opposing Obama's energy policies was a natural fit for conservatives. The American Way, what made CostCo and Walmart a success, is to use more and pay less. That's the American way," The president's green policies however were the reverse, she said. "President Obama wants us to pay more and use less."
If all this seems familiar, it should. It is the same method used for years to discredit the mountain of evidence that linked smoking tobacco to health problems. It has been used extensively in the building of a “denial” argument for climate change. Funny enough, several of these groups are those that were used to create denial of tobacco´s damaging effects.