A new memo, complete with handy talking points, has been circulated to House Republicans. Its central premise is that the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is being alarmist by urging wealthy governments to change net-zero emissions goals from 2050 to 2040. The memo originated with an entity known as the “Competitive Enterprise Institute” (CEI).
So what is the Competitive Enterprise Institute? It’s essentially a hired gun — if you want to be polite about it. It’s a far right-leaning Libertarian non-profit “think tank” that has been in the Republican back pocket for decades. It was used to litigate against the Internal Revenue Service’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act. It has lobbied on behalf of big tobacco for decades. It’s an organisation composed of some very evil people.
The memo begins by contradicting the notion that global warming will lead to catastrophic changes to human and animal life. For example, it noted a short-term projection by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that suggested global temperatures peaked nearly a decade ago in 2015.
But that projection was written in 2016. The truth is that climate change has accelerated since 2015. It also cherry-picked climate change projections that failed to come true, while failing to note that climate change projections are always inexact and almost always come with probability figures. The point remains that the dire warnings of climate change will come true — eventually. And that eventuality is 100% guaranteed if human beings fail to act.
The memo goes on to blame President Joe Biden (who else?) for failure to take sufficient action to cut emissions by 2050. “Both the electricity utility industry and the Biden administration have now admitted that cutting net emissions to zero by 2050 (‘net zero by 2050’) are [sic] not happening,” the memo said. Biden has admitted no such thing.
The CEI memo is a cynical attempt to misuse past data to make a false point. Republicans have been given this rubbish so they can continue to defend their indefensible climate science denialism. It’s yet another major reason in the long list of major reasons why the Republican Party is and remains a party of evil.
This is yet another example of how rich people who think they aren’t rich enough are willing to put at risk billions of lives for their bottom line. It’s really a special kind of evil. Perhaps we need a brand new word to describe it, because “evil” doesn’t quite go far enough any more. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.