Gazette touted CEI in criticizing Gore's Nobel Prize, omitted think tank's energy-industry backing

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

The Gazette of Colorado Springs on October 16 editorialized against former Vice President Al Gore's being awarded a share of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, stating that the free-market think tank the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) "has compiled point-by-point counter-arguments to Gore's hype and alarmism" about global warming and quoting a CEI senior fellow's attack against Gore. But The Gazette failed to disclose that the think tank has received significant funding from the energy industry and right-wing financiers.

An October 16 editorial in The Gazette of Colorado Springs criticized the awarding of a share of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to former Vice President Al Gore, stating, "The Competitive Enterprise Institute [CEI], a free market think tank, has compiled point-by-point counter-arguments to Gore's hype and alarmism." The Gazette then quoted CEI senior fellow Marlo Lewis Jr., who claimed, "Nearly every significant statement that Vice President Gore makes regarding climate science and climate policy is either one-sided, misleading, exaggerated, speculative or wrong."

However, while citing CEI to attack Gore's "alarmism," the Gazette did not disclose that the think tank has received a significant amount of funding from energy-industry sources, including, as Media Matters for America repeatedly has noted, more than $2 million from the Exxon Mobil Corp. since 1998. According to the blog Think Progress, Exxon Mobil no longer provides funding to CEI.

The Gazette editorial also identified Bjørn Lomborg as an "[e]nvironmental author," without noting that several climate change experts have criticized the Danish statistician's book The Skeptical Environmentalist (Cambridge University Press, 2001) for "egregious distortions," poor research and careless mistakes.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced on October 12 that it was awarding the 2007 Peace Prize to Gore and the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

The Gazette began its editorial by asserting that Gore "won the Nobel Peace Prize for advancing scary half-truths, flatout errors and politically inspired schemes about global warming." It later added, "As for Gore's campaign to scare the dickens out of everyone on Earth, we're pleased to see reality catching up to his hype." The Gazette later stated:

The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free market think tank, has compiled point-by-point counter-arguments to Gore's hype and alarmism.

"Nearly every significant statement that Vice President Gore makes regarding climate science and climate policy is either one-sided, misleading, exaggerated, speculative or wrong," says CEI environmental policy expert Marlo Lewis. Otherwise, nice job, Al.

Global warming alarmism serves those opposing free-market economics and its fossil-fuel reliance, and those seeking power and to profit by gaming the system once they force rule changes. Neither motive is in most peoples' interests. The Kyoto Protocol, which would force nations to drastically reduce CO2 emissions, if enforced would reduce projected temperatures about one degree over 100 years while -- and this is not exaggeration -- dampening and devastating economies worldwide.

The United States, and George W. Bush in particular, is routinely pilloried for not signing onto the Kyoto agreement. But signing on is no guarantee of compliance. Several European nations jumped on the climate change bandwagon but have yet to reduce their emissions.

As Media Matters noted, on the August 15 broadcast of NBC's Nightly News, NBC News chief environmental affairs correspondent Anne Thompson stated that "[t]he Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) says Exxon Mobil gave almost $16 million over seven years to denier groups, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute." Thompson aired a clip of Lewis claiming, "We don't take that position because they invest. It's the other way around, and any environmental group that is honest and has any familiarity with us knows that to be the case."

In addition, as Colorado Media Matters pointed out, CEI has received funding from right-wing financiers and organizations, such as Richard Mellon Scaife, the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation, and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

Later in the editorial, the Gazette argued that "Gore and his disciples completely ignore the benefits if the climate is warming":

Environmental author Bjorn Lomborg notes more lives would be saved, more crops grown and generally more benefits received with warmer temperatures. Sure, adjustments would have to be made, but the human race is remarkably adaptable.

Gore's award will spur more alarmist momentum. To balance the scales, we recommend CEI's "A Skeptic's Guide to An Inconvenient Truth" at www.cei.org and the book "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism" by CEI senior fellow Christopher Horner.

As Colorado Media Matters has pointed out, Lomborg's The Skeptical Environmentalist has been discredited by respected climate experts. In January 2002 Scientific American published a series of articles from four well-known environmental specialists who lambasted the book for "egregious distortions," "elementary blunders of quantitative manipulation and presentation that no self-respecting statistician ought to commit," and sections that were "poorly researched and ... rife with careless mistakes." A backgrounder by the UCS similarly reported that Lomborg's findings and methodology "fail[] to meet basic standards of credible scientific analysis."

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