As #ExxonKnew collapses, conservative think tank sues AG Schneiderman over Exxon probe records

The Competitive Enterprise Institute today filed a lawsuit against New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, seeking copies of any agreements his office signed that would protect internal communications stemming from his investigation of ExxonMobil’s climate change record.

CEI’s suit in New York state court comes after Schneiderman denied the conservative think tank’s May 5 request under the state’s freedom of information law for any common interest agreements that his office reached with other state AGs involved in his climate oversight efforts, as well as seven individuals and green groups also involved in Exxon probes.

More than a dozen state AGs signed a common interest agreement earlier this year that allows their offices to shield communications about climate-related investigations, including against Exxon, from public view. CEI and other right-leaning critics of Schneiderman’s investigation slam the pact as an improper secrecy deal, but Schneiderman’s office has countered that common interest agreements are frequently used during multi-state inquiries.

“None of the reasons Schneiderman claimed for withholding these documents are legitimate under New York law,” CEI general counsel Sam Kazman said in a statement on the state court challenge. “The public deserves to know what this AG, and the other AGs cooperating with him, agreed to when it came to targeting their political opponents, and that’s why we sought the Common Interest Agreement in the first place.”

Full Story:
https://www.politicopro.com/energy/whiteboard/2016/08/conservative-think-tank-sues-schneiderman-over-exxon-probe-records-076436


From the Wall Street Journal:

How the Exxon Case Unraveled

It becomes clear that investigators simply don’t know what a climate model is.

By Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.

 

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s investigation of Exxon Mobil for climate sins has collapsed due to its own willful dishonesty. The posse of state AGs he pretended to assemble never really materialized. Now his few allies are melting away: Massachusetts has suspended its investigation. California apparently never opened one.

The U.S. Virgin Islands has withdrawn its sweeping, widely criticized subpoena of research groups and think tanks. In an email exposed by a private lawsuit, one staffer of the Iowa AG’s office tells another that Mr. Schneiderman himself was “the wild card.”

His initial claim, flounced to the world by outside campaigners under the hashtag “exxonknew,” fell apart under scrutiny. This was the idea that, through its own research in the 1970s, Exxon knew one thing about climate science but told the public something else.

In an Aug. 19 interview with the New York Times, Mr. Schneiderman now admits this approach has come a cropper. He reveals that he’s no longer focusing on what Exxon knew/said but instead on how it goes about valuing its current oil reserves. In essence, Mr. Schneiderman here is hiding his retreat behind a recent passing fad in the blogosphere for discussing the likelihood that such reserves will become “stranded assets” under some imaginary future climate regime.

His crusade was always paradoxical. The oil industry reliably ranks last in Gallup’s annual survey of public credibility. The $16 million that Exxon spent between 1998 and 2005 to support organizations that criticized speculative climate models is a minuscule fraction of the propaganda budgets of the U.S. Energy Department, NASA, NOAA, EPA, not to mention the United Nations’ climate panel, etc. etc.

The episode ends happily, though, if Mr. Schneiderman’s hoped-for political career now goes into eclipse. But we haven’t finished unless we also mention the press’s role.

The “Exxon knew” claim, recall, began with investigative reports by InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times, both suffering from the characteristic flaw of American journalism—diligently ascertaining and confirming the facts, then shoving them into an off-the-shelf narrative they don’t support.

We have since learned that both the L.A. Times (via a collaboration with the Columbia School of Journalism) and InsideClimate News efforts were partly underwritten by a Rockefeller family charity while Rockefeller and other nonprofit groups were simultaneously stoking Mr. Schneiderman’s investigation.

When caught with your hand in the cookie jar in this way, there’s only one thing to do, and last week the Columbia School of Journalism did it, awarding a prize to InsideClimate News.

For this columnist, however, the deeper mystery was cleared up last year when I appeared on the NPR show “To the Point” to discuss the subject “Did Exxon Cover Up Climate Change?” (Google those phrases) with ICN’s “energy and climate” reporter Neela Banerjee.

Ms. Banerjee has been collecting plaudits all year for her work. The work itself involved revisiting Exxon’s climate modeling efforts of the 1970s. Yet, at 16:28, see how thoroughly she bollixes up what a climate model is. She apparently believes the uncertainty in such models stems from uncertainty about how much CO2 in the future will be released.

“The uncertainties that people talk about . . . are predicated on the policy choices we make,” namely the “inputs” of future CO2.

No, they aren’t. The whole purpose of a climate model is to estimate warming from a given input of CO2. In its most recent report, issued in 2013, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assumes a doubling of atmospheric CO2 and predicts warming of 1.5 to 4.5 degrees Celsius—i.e., an uncertainty of output, not input.

What’s more, this represents an increase in uncertainty over its 2007 report (when the range was 2.0 to 4.5 degrees). In fact, the IPCC’s new estimate is now identical to Exxon’s 1977 estimate and the 1979 estimate of the U.S. National Research Council.

In other words, on the crucial question, the help we’re getting from climate models has not improved in 40 years and has been going backward of late.

For bonus insight, ask yourself why we still rely on computer simulations at all, rather than empirical study of climate—even though we’ve been burning fossil fuels for 200 years and recording temperatures even longer.

OK, many climate reporters have accepted a role as enforcers of orthodoxy, not questioners of it. But this colossal error not only falsifies the work of the IPCC over the past 28 years, it falsifies the entire climate modeling enterprise of the past half-century.

But it also explains the non sequitur at the heart of the InsideClimate News and L.A. Times exposés as well as Mr. Schneiderman’s unraveling investigation. There simply never was any self-evident contradiction between Exxon’s private and public statements. In emphasizing the uncertainty inherent in climate models, Exxon was telling a truth whose only remarkable feature is that it continues to elude so many climate reporters.

Full story: http://www.wsj.com/articles/how-the-exxon-case-unraveled-1472598472

98 thoughts on “As #ExxonKnew collapses, conservative think tank sues AG Schneiderman over Exxon probe records

  1. CEI should have filed against Scheiderman and the Rockefeller Foundation under 43 USC 1983 or 1985, which I understand to be conspiracy to deny civil rights. Piling on is only fair, and bankrupting yahoos was effective against the KKK.

    • I agree. But this needs to be disseminated far more widely. Exxon figured out 40 years ago, using their own dollar and published it far and wide.

      The anti-capitalists are a disgrace.

    • Not all of it, not yet…

      I’m waiting for him and his co-conspirators to be charged un RICO. All in good time.

      Thankfully there are qualified and tenacious guys like those at CEI who are ready and able to effectively challenge this kind of crap.

      More power to them.

      • Don’t need RICO. 18USC241 is simpler and clearer. Criminal conspiracy to deprive any civil right, like first amendment freedom of speech.

      • But CEI can’t prosecute, they can’t issue subpoena. They can attempt to sue – but a conservative group? In NY? Against the AG? Yeah, good luck with that.

  2. I think it is about time to wield RICO as a two-edged sword. It was intended as a tool for prosecutors to use against corporate racketeering, but it appears the AG Gang has been acting exactly in the manner the RICO Act was intended to prosecute.

  3. Love the irony in your last paragraph. When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?
    ===========

  4. Right on! Nail those SOB’s with a counterattack that Lee and Jackson would have been proud of!

    • If only one could still rally around the Virginians…

      …though most of the problems seem to come from the less native transients in NOVA. Says the Virginian daughter of a Pennsylvanian and Californian living in NOVA. Native or not, anyone who thinks the Commonwealth needs to radically change should just move to a nanny state rather than trying to make us one.

      Also, Attorney General Herring should do us all a favor: resign and slink off in disgrace.

  5. Here’s a little something the curious may contemplate: Why is is climate dissent that these attorneys general thought needed illegal suppression. Why was it so important to hammer on this dissent rather than something else?

    Oreskes? McKibben? Why so eager to reveal the iron fist?
    ==============

      • I have to disagree. A strong defense is your best offense. In filing this lawsuit, Schneiderman clearly overstepped his bounds, alienated much of the press, and caused everyone to be taken aback. He did as much damage to the cause as anything that we could ever do.

      • Ben,
        They want the evidence of internal communications between entities that went after Exon, which one side refuses to provide. Do you think that they should not have to provide this?
        Do you think their activities should be shielded from the view of the public as they are doing and not subject to FIA laws?

        How else can entities be held accountable for collusion or other illegal activities if they can keep this information hidden?

        We don’t know what is there of course but when people follow laws and use reasonable methods based on acceptable standards in pursuit of an authentic objective………they usually don’t want to hide their evidence and activities.

        Before a trial, yes or if important LEGIT functioning information on the operations of the entity would cause harm to future LEGIT effectiveness, yes but this is over and viewing this information is needed to hold them accountable to reasonable standards.

        Failing to do so, provides them with a license to (continue to?) make their own rules/laws and target entities based on biased politics.

      • “Moreover, students who choose to use outside sources for research during their time in the course may select only those that have been peer-reviewed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the email states.”

        In other words, the IPCC is an unquestioned authority. I can understand, with so many legit questions that the IPCC can’t answer, that it would get in the way of what this class is intended to teach and respect them in a way for laying down the rules up front…..they are not teaching science but instead, accepting something and building from there. They only want to reinforce current group think.

        “Opening up a debate that 98% of climate scientists unequivocally agree to be a non-debate”

        This last statement is problematic, however. No need to revisit everything that the bogus 98%(97%) number represents or how it was obtained. However, to state that 98% of climate scientists unequivocally consider this topic a non-debate is blatant misrepresentation.
        Certainly, the majority are open minded enough to realize that there are enough unknowns to, at the very least, adjust what we think we know about this topic………..as new information is dialed in.

        Most of them agree that at least X amount of warming was likely from the increase in greenhouse gas warming from CO2…but the actual amount, whether it’s 1.5 deg C or 4.5deg C is the key to this issue.
        If you can’t accept the uncertainty, represented by this range and allow for debate(an open discussion of authentic science) then you are cult leaders of a political movement, advertising for new members……..or at least reinforcing the brainwash to those that admit to already being cult members

      • “We will not, at any time, debate the science of climate change, nor will the ‘other side’ of the climate change debate be taught or discussed in this course,” states the email, a copy of which was provided to The College Fix by a student in the course.”

        So they admit the topic is debatable and there is this thingy they call the ‘other side” but, when they lecture they will not tolerate any debate and as we all know, debate is what drives higher learning.
        Oh, I get it now. I confused Rebecca Laroche, Wendy Haggren and Eileen Skahill, with professors. Real professors seek the better, the true, the facts.
        And they make sure their students learn to ask honest questions.
        Oops! My err.

    • They are operating under the same veil and in the same vein as the current administration with respect to assaulting and oppressing the non-compliant who oppose their agenda. Does anyone remember the POTUS’s March Madness Climate Change Denier tournament? Please save the comments about he didn’t run the site, somebody else did garbage. Do you really think he didn’t condone it?

      https://www.barackobama.com/climate-denier-tournament/

  6. Journalists are close to the bottom in the public’s trust of professions (I see these charts periodically). There is a reason for that, and this sentence in Jenkins’s WSJ column perfectly illustrates why. “OK, many climate reporters have accepted a role as enforcers of orthodoxy, not questioners of it.”

    • It’s not just in climate that reporters have become enforcers of the orthodoxy.
      It’s also true regarding anything to do with economics or social policy.
      And in all of these, the orthodoxy is the same. It’s hard left.

  7. The new normal is deliberate and brazen corruption amongst the left. Democrats openly using the WH to coordinate persecution of their political opposition (the tea party) via the IRS and FBI and justice dept.

    The democrats are all talking to each other through back channels, coordinating their efforts with google resources an facebook. The press is part of the left so they are involved.

    They text and use private email then scrub their private email servers using bleachbit.

    So, hackers of the world, hack the heck out of them and expose the corruption.

    These people should all be jailed.

  8. The crusade against EXXON is a direct lift from the successful campaign against Big Tobacco. There is nothing new under the sun. The problem being, of course, that this one lacks a shred of truth.

    • “The professors also note this ban on debate extends to discussion among students in the online forums. Moreover, students who choose to use outside sources for research during their time in the course may select only those that have been peer-reviewed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the email states.”

      That’s great.
      The IPCC is going to start a peer review process.
      Who knew?

  9. Anthony,

    I think this subject is fundamentally important to you personally, to Mark Steyn and other brave individuals who struggle to get the facts into daylight.

    Many articles you publish are interesting, some cute and humorous. This subject is very different.

    At it’s heart are the devious and seditious inner workings of an actual documented conspiracy to thwart the law and bring harm to private citizens. This is Orwellian.

    It isn’t as fun as exo-planets, or gratifying as the implosion of Pachauri. But it has serious teeth and is worth durable effort.

    • Along the lines Paul is sketching, I suggest some serious attention is warranted, toward internet based freedom of speech/press . . ’cause as the Monty Python crew used to say; No one expects the Spanish Inquisition! ; )

  10. I believe that if peole get enough momentum. attempting to use RICO to silence climate change skeptics may prove to be a double edged sword.

    There has clearly been a generation of racketeering around the climate change industry, and it is vulnerable to a class action.

    Against the alarmists.

    A change of government and an electorate less interested in Eco war might see it happen.

    • As far as I know, European countries don’t have RICO laws. So much has been gotten away with there.

      Now this kind of activity has reared its ugly head in the U.S. which does have RICO laws.

      And the U.S. still has the Grand Jury system. Information can be presented directly to a Grand Jury and the Grand Jury investigates and can issue indictments. Then courts decide the cases. Some dispute this.

  11. “He reveals that he’s no longer focusing on what Exxon knew/said but instead on how it goes about valuing its current oil reserves. In essence, Mr. Schneiderman here is hiding his retreat behind a recent passing fad in the blogosphere for discussing the likelihood that such reserves will become “stranded assets” under some imaginary future climate regime.”

    Should we not be investigating solar and wind projects that “will” be left stranded (hurting those investors) due to out of control AG’s, reporters who supports such false claims in their writings of C02 pollution, NASA, NOAA, Rockefeller’s, universities, Democrats, US AG, Obama administration, claims from the solar and wind industries, (I can go on)…? Don’t folks know that we already have solar and wind “stranded assets”? Are they not trying to sell “some imaginary future climate benefit”?

  12. According to Banerjee, EXXON scientists used the words “concensus and catatropthic” in their research papers as far back as the 70s.

    How can this be?

  13. I’m still struggling to understand how anyone thought it was morally defensible to even consider mounting such a legal attack on Exxon… It beggars belief. I know things are getting out-of-hand with the left, but, still, this takes some beating as an example of unprincipled bullying and wilful spite (even from them).

    Yesterday I finally bought myself an ‘I *heart* Fossil Fuels’ T-shirt. Figured it was about time. My main purpose in wearing it will be to irritate regressive, CAGW-believing leftists at dinner parties.

    Good times. :)

    • That’s why they sought the “common interest” agreement. So they would never have to tell anyone what they were trying to do.

    • Government and Press have “othered” the oil companies and their management. They have convinced themselves that the industry (and corporations in general) are evil. Therefore, anything government does to them is not merely lawful and sinless, but a holy crusade, one that elevates bureaucrats and useful idiots to veritable sainthood. This is a familiar proce⚡⚡ to students of history, of which there are, apparently, very few in the US.

  14. We are watching a train wreck in slow motion. In an effort to bolster the meme, these AGs have in effect brought about its destruction. It will not disappear over night as it took them 40 years to create the illusion. But historians will look at this as the day the lie died.

    • I wonder if CAGW is too big to fail. Too many people have too much of themselves and their organizations totally tied into CAGW. What would be the consequences if they admitted that CAGW was a lie?

      In his book, Listen Liberal!, Thomas Frank points out that America is developing an aristocracy of educated professionals. They are the darlings of the Democrat party. They are sucking the blood from the economy. They support CAGW because it was created by other educated professionals. They are wrong about CAGW and they are wrong about many other things. They are arrogant and will never admit that they could possibly be wrong about anything. They are beyond criticism.

      My hope is that the people recognize CAGW for the lie that is and recognize the liars as the enemies of America. [/rant]

      • @CommieBob – you are correct that the “ruling class” will never admit it is a fraud. That is why I said “historians”. The truth will not come out in our life time (come out in the respect the total fraud is detailed and made public). But it will come out.

      • philjourdan,
        I agree.
        Government and the Angry Green Giant with their lawyers have tried to hide everything outside their meme just like Big Tobacco’s lawyers.

  15. When journalists stray into the realm of science, they display amazing ignorance. They often misunderstamd what scientists say and do and unfortunately, those crackpot scientists who swear they know the truth are the one they most likely want to quote. Journalsists hate and do not understand how uncertainty can exist in a science, despite 50 years documenting the failures of science in dozens of fields – cancer research, psychotherapy, etc. Well, there are sciences and there are sciences, some very solid in their predictions and some not. Some mature and some beter characterized as junk sciences (Sociology, Psychology, etc).

    • Freudian psychology is largely bunk. Still, it contains certain truths and is used successfully in treatment of certain cases which fit that pattern. If you don’t think psychology is a science, I could point to at least one politician who used it to further his career. Even Sociology may have areas that are well established and quite useful.

      • There are principles within the study of psychology/sociology which admittedly are both interesting and useful – no doubt.

        Unfortunately, the practical use of such are frustrating at the very least and maddening at most times.

        Most of us who work within the healthcare system are subject to massive oversight – we have hard and fast criteria which must be met in order to make a diagnosis ….. to place a patient under our care …… massive oversight of treatment protocols themselves …. as well as the outcomes and continued care.

        Sadly, insurance companies, state and federal governments may, at will, rescind payments if they feel any of these restrictions were violated – even years later. And then, the doctor is considered guilty until proven innocent – at his/her own expense.

        Sorry for the boring drivel, but – the psychs are treated completely differently. The diagnostic, treatment and release criteria are so ambiguous – it would be next to impossible to violate. They can admit anyone (truly any of us on any given day) for anything – there is no treatment criteria nor conditions for release and even less expectation of altered behavior in the future.

        Good gig if you can get it, I guess. Apologize for the rant.

  16. “How the Exxon Case Unraveled

    The meaning of “ravel”

    http://www.dictionary.com/browse/raveled

    It is a word that means it opposite as well…??!!

    verb (used with object), raveled, raveling or (especially British) ravelled, ravelling.
    1.to disentangle or unravel the threads or fibers of (a woven or knitted fabric, rope, etc.).
    2.to tangle or entangle.
    3.to involve; confuse; perplex.
    4.to make clear; unravel (often followed by out).

    So unraveled = raveled. For real.

    :(

  17. One of the weaknesses of the AG coalition was how overtly political the agenda was. They were acting like environmental activists, not guardians of justice. It brought their offices into disrepute.

  18. Call me vindictive, but if it were me, I would spend the rest of my life making an example of these clowns.

  19. Game over folks. Progressives will complete their transformation of America during Hillary’s first term.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/08/31/obama-appointments-already-pulling-appeals-courts-to-left.html

    “The president, over the course of his two terms, has appointed hundreds of justices to the lower federal courts, leading to a majority of appeals courts now dominated by Democratic picks. While those nomination battles aren’t nearly as high-profile as they are for the high court, the impact of the appointments is just as pronounced.

    The Fourth Circuit, which sits just one level below the Supreme Court and is headquartered in Richmond, Va., is a prime example.

    Previously viewed as one of the most conservative appellate courts in the country, it has drifted significantly to the left, with Democratic appointees now outnumbering their Republican counterparts two-to-one.

    The president has successfully seated a total of 329 federal judges during his two terms – all of them, lifetime appointments.

    When Obama took office, only three appellate courts had more Democrat-appointed judges than Republican-appointed judges.

    Now, nine of the 13 circuits do.”

    The AG’s case will end up in a Federal Court (if it goes beyond political theater, as others have suggested). At this point, the target of any Congressional action simply has to delay until Hillary is elected. Well done America. (sarc) Idiots. (not sarc)

    Election of Hillary will allow Progressives to seal off the Executive Branch from the Legislative Branch. Harry Reid and the Senate changed the rules so that a President’s judicial appointments to Federal Court are passed with a simple majority. Obama began the process of stacking the Federal Courts with Progressives. Furthermore, Hillary will appoint at least 2 Supreme Court Justices.

    Pay attention. The result is that there will be no way to overturn Executive Actions/Orders. Challenges to Executive Actions/Orders (and the actions of Federal Agencies) must go through the Federal Court System. After 8 years of Hillary, there will be no chance that any Conservative challenge to a Progressive President’s Executive edict/mandate will advance through the Federal Court System and be overturned by the Supreme Court. No chance.

    Tell me why I am wrong.

    Any challenge by a Republican controlled Congress will be vetoed. Republicans will never again hold a veto-proof majority in both Houses of Congress. The press, “the 4th branch” will see to it.

    As I see it, Hillary’s ability to neuter the Legislative Branch through judicial appointments is the REAL issue of this campaign.

    • There is a funny thing about Federal Judges: They don’t always toe the ideological line they are expected to toe.

      Like our Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts who surprised everyone and veered Left on Obamacare.

      It works both ways fortunately. The Federal Judge who is currently insisting the State Department turn over Hillary’s emails pronto, is an Obama nominee.

  20. As was noted here several months ago….. skeptics were begging for this fight because (beneficially for us and detrimentally for the AGs) discovery cuts both ways in a court of law. The last thing the CAGW aristocracy wanted was legal discovery.

    Too much money to be had in nameless libel and slander to take it to court.

  21. A minor correction needed to “The whole purpose of a climate model is to estimate warming from a given input of CO2.“. Not quite sure how it should be re-worded. Maybe “The whole purpose of a climate model is to model climate”. Or maybe “The whole focus of climate models has been misdirected to estimate warming only from CO2”.

  22. A topic directly aligned with this article is how quickly, easily and whole heartedly gullible intelligentsia grab hold of topics or causes based on so little evidence.

    The preparatory meetings between the NGOs and activists followed by their direct introductions to State Attorney Generals are stunningly stupid based on expectations and the lack of evidence they brought forward into their investigations.

    It is one thing to physically have in hand and ‘know’ evidence exists; and a completely different thing to ‘believe’ evidence exists.
    Especially in America where evidence is supposed to be required before action can be taken.

    Everyone of these NGO, activist, AG fools believed evidenced should exist, without any evidence beyond supposition these fools literally drooled themselves silly over the things and people they were going to expose.

    Was there some sort of common sense exclusion particle that these characters used to prevent anyone sensible from speaking?

    Ron White with his “You can’t fix stupid” has well framed these collective idiots; NPR, NGOs, activists, Attorney Generals, etc.
    Perhaps, these lunatics should all be listed as incapable of rational thought; and all of the authors amongst them should have their writings redefined as fiction?

  23. Bravo!!! A single lawsuit will eliminate the Climate Alarmist’s greatest tool….Bullying to avoid scrutiny.

  24. But many scientists have suggested that if the world were to burn even just a portion of the oil in the ground that the industry declares on its books, the planet would heat up to such dangerous levels that “there’s no one left to burn the rest,” Mr. Schneiderman said.
    ________________________________________

    Must be a great sight, every working day, summer and winter, Mr. Schneiderman and whole staff coming on bycicles to work to ‘leave the oil in the ground’.

  25. For decades, scientists at Exxon knew the Earth’s climate was warming, and the oil giant made business decisions based on their predictions. But in 1990, the company began funding deniers of climate science, and their reports persuaded policy makers to resist limits on the burning of fossil fuels.
    ________________________________________

    Every sentence of this KCRW outlet is disputable; but we can’t hold the MSM liable other we had Erdoghan Regimes all over the world.

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