Our Sincerest Compliments Come From Our Enemies

Minnesota’s Democratic governor has initiated a rule-making proceeding intended to import California’s vehicle emission standards to Minnesota. Basically, a large percentage of vehicles sold in the state would have to be electric. In order to meet that mandate, electric cars would be subsidized by higher prices for gasoline-powered vehicles, the ones a large majority of people want to buy.

The rule-making order is, I think, illegal, as there is no statute that authorizes it. This will be fought out in the legal arena, with the Upper Midwest Law Center, on whose board I serve, taking the lead. Beyond the legal issue, the proposed rule is a terrible idea. It would seriously harm Minnesota consumers while having zero effect on the Earth’s climate. My organization, Center of the American Experiment, submitted a 27-page comment opposing the proposed rule, and encouraged other concerned Minnesotans to file comments opposing the rule. We provided a template letter that others could use as a comment.

Our effort was successful, as you can tell from this headline on DeSmog Blog, a house organ for the climate hysteria movement: “Public Comments Reveal Big Oil and Koch-backed Opposition to Minnesota’s Clean Car Standards.” Much could be said about this, but the point I want to make is that global warming hysterics never–and I mean never–argue their case on the merits. Instead, they invariably smear their opponents, usually by alleging that they are tools of the fossil fuel industries. That is what DeSmog did here:

A DeSmog analysis found that a majority of the hundreds of comments received were supportive of the initiative, which aims to reduce the state’s transportation-sector emissions.

However, opposing comments also poured in from industry groups and citizens borrowing a script provided by a right-wing think tank tied to the petrochemical billionaire Koch network.

That “right-wing think tank” is Center of the American Experiment, which I run. But how, exactly, are we “tied to” the Koch network? As we approach year-end, we expect to raise around $3.3 million in 2019, of which not a single dollar, so far, has come from the “Koch network.” We are supported by thousands of individual Minnesotans, a fact with which the Left is simply unable to deal. More:

This think tank, Center of the American Experiment (CAE), has been a vocal opponent of Minnesota’s proposed clean car standards. As a member of the Koch-funded State Policy Network (SPN), the center regularly attacks clean energy and climate initiatives, just as other SPN-member organizations do in other states.

So apparently the State Policy Network has gotten support from one or more Koch-related entities. Wow. How “tied to” the Koch network can my organization get?

Don’t get me wrong: we would love to get money from Koch or other industry groups that agree with our policy positions. There is obviously nothing wrong with that, just as there is nothing wrong with “green” advocacy groups being funded by wind and solar entrepreneurs and utilities that hope to profit from “green” investments, no matter how much they hurt the utilities’ ratepayers. Almost all of the money on these issues is on the “green” side. In this case, DeSmog is simply barking up the wrong tree.

CAE misleadingly claims that Minnesota’s clean car standards would have no meaningful impact on reducing both global warming and harmful pollutants, and would force auto dealers to offer more expensive electric vehicles that consumers are unwilling to buy. These arguments appear aimed at undermining the whole point of the initiative.

They certainly are. But wait! How is the 27-page comment that we submitted “misleading”? DeSmog blog offers no clue; certainly no argument. This is not just typical, it is universal. Climate hysterics refuse to engage in debate, they just smear, pointlessly. DeSmog continues:

Many of the comments opposing the proposed standards are identical in wording, which comes from a script written by CAE’s Isaac Orr.

Isaac is a policy fellow in my organization, and one of the country’s top energy experts.

They question the legality of Minnesota adopting the standards and requests a hearing be scheduled before an administrative law judge.

That’s right. The rule-making proceeding is in fact illegal, as noted above.

Out of the more than 600 comments received (not including one supportive letter with 685 signatures and over 300 additional comments), DeSmog estimates that roughly 13 percent of them borrowed the script that Orr provided.

Thank you! We are indeed the main source of opposition to climate hysteria in Minnesota, as DeSmog acknowledges. We patiently await any argument that may come from the governor’s office, DeSmog, or anyone else, in opposition to our position. But I am not holding my breath. When we have challenged climate hysterics to debate, they have always folded. That is the state of the climate debate in 2019.

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