You don’t have to been on Big Oil’s payroll to be on National Public Radio’s (NPR) clean energy panel, but it sure helps!
I got a chance to watch the taping of this week’s Intelligence Squared debate on clean energy, to air on NPR. The debate’s sponsors sent up red flags right away:
- The American Clean Skies Foundation, a natural gas industry front group
- The Rosenkrantz Foundation, which in part funds the Cato Institute, cofounded by legendary polluter Charles Koch
- The Ohrstrom Foundation, chaired by Gerry Ohrstrom, who Sourcewatch reports is also the director of several organizations that fight regulations on polluters
Then there were the panelists. On the side of clean energy was former Gov. Bill Ritter (D-Colo.), who’s conservative on some issues but a bold leader on clean energy and conservation. So far so good. But then came Kassia Yanosek, founder of Tana Energy Capital LLC. On the one hand, Yanosek has extensive experience in clean energy investment … on the other, she used to work for BP and Bechtel, and Tana’s investment interests include coal, oil, and gas. Not so good.
On the side of dirty energy was Robert Bryce, employed by the Manhattan Institute, which has moved on from denying the dangers of cigarette smoke and is now denying the dangers of coal and oil. It’s funded in part by … you guessed it, the Koch brothers. On its board: Robert Rosenkrantz, of panel sponsor The Rosenkrantz Foundation. Feeling icky yet?
But wait, there’s more! The other dirty energy panelist was Steven Hayward, who according to Sourcewatch has built an entire career spanning more than 30 years working almost exclusively for polluter front groups. His stops include the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, and now the Pacific Research Institute — all either founded, funded or both by the Kochtopus.
Of course, both dirty energy panelists were introduced by host John Donvan as working for their innocuous-sounding front groups. Not a word about the polluters and anti-tax billionaires who pay them to be their own real-life version of Thank You for Smoking tobacco shill Nick Naylor.
With such an unbalanced panel and a host who was either oblivious or looking the other way, it’s not surprising the debate featured no mention of:
- The massive economic costs of inaction on climate change
- The huge public health costs of climate change
- The increased costs of national security in a world of climate instability
In a debate that doesn’t even consider those massive impacts of climate change & incentives to switch to clean energy, who loses?
Got a mirror?
Get Grist in your inbox